小说搜索     点击排行榜   最新入库
首页 » 经典英文小说 » 爱玛 Emma » Part 3 Chapter 1
选择底色: 选择字号:【大】【中】【小】
Part 3 Chapter 1

A very little quiet reflection was enough to satisfy Emma as to the nature of her agitation on hearing this news of Frank Churchill. She was soon convinced that it was not for herself she was feeling at all apprehensive or embarrassed; it was for him. Her own attachment had really subsided into a mere nothing; it was not worth thinking of; - but if he, who had undoubtedly been always so much the most in love of the two, were to be returning with the same warmth of sentiment which he had taken away, it would be very distressing. If a separation of two months should not have cooled him, there were dangers and evils before her: - caution for him and for herself would be necessary. She did not mean to have her own affections entangled again, and it would be incumbent on her to avoid any encouragement of his.

She wished she might be able to keep him from an absolute declaration. That would be so very painful a conclusion of their present acquaintance! and yet, she could not help rather anticipating something decisive. She felt as if the spring would not pass without bringing a crisis, an event, a something to alter her present composed and tranquil state.

It was not very long, though rather longer than Mr. Weston had foreseen, before she had the power of forming some opinion of Frank Churchill's feelings. The Enscombe family were not in town quite so soon as had been imagined, but he was at Highbury very soon afterwards. He rode down for a couple of hours; he could not yet do more; but as he came from Randalls immediately to Hartfield, she could then exercise all her quick observation, and speedily determine how he was influenced, and how she must act. They met with the utmost friendliness. There could be no doubt of his great pleasure in seeing her. But she had an almost instant doubt of his caring for her as he had done, of his feeling the same tenderness in the same degree. She watched him well. It was a clear thing he was less in love than he had been. Absence, with the conviction probably of her indifference, had produced this very natural and very desirable effect.

He was in high spirits; as ready to talk and laugh as ever, and seemed delighted to speak of his former visit, and recur to old stories: and he was not without agitation. It was not in his calmness that she read his comparative difference. He was not calm; his spirits were evidently fluttered; there was restlessness about him. Lively as he was, it seemed a liveliness that did not satisfy himself; but what decided her belief on the subject, was his staying only a quarter of an hour, and hurrying away to make other calls in Highbury. `He had seen a group of old acquaintance in the street as he passed - he had not stopped, he would not stop for more than a word - but he had the vanity to think they would be disappointed if he did not call, and much as he wished to stay longer at Hartfield, he must hurry off.' She had no doubt as to his being less in love - but neither his agitated spirits, nor his hurrying away, seemed like a perfect cure; and she was rather inclined to think it implied a dread of her returning power, and a discreet resolution of not trusting himself with her long.

This was the only visit from Frank Churchill in the course of ten days. He was often hoping, intending to come - but was always prevented. His aunt could not bear to have him leave her. Such was his own account at Randall's. If he were quite sincere, if he really tried to come, it was to be inferred that Mrs. Churchill's removal to London had been of no service to the wilful or nervous part of her disorder. That she was really ill was very certain; he had declared himself convinced of it, at Randalls. Though much might be fancy, he could not doubt, when he looked back, that she was in a weaker state of health than she had been half a year ago. He did not believe it to proceed from any thing that care and medicine might not remove, or at least that she might not have many years of existence before her; but he could not be prevailed on, by all his father's doubts, to say that her complaints were merely imaginary, or that she was as strong as ever.

It soon appeared that London was not the place for her. She could not endure its noise. Her nerves were under continual irritation and suffering; and by the ten days' end, her nephew's letter to Randalls communicated a change of plan. They were going to remove immediately to Richmond. Mrs. Churchill had been recommended to the medical skill of an eminent person there, and had otherwise a fancy for the place. A ready-furnished house in a favourite spot was engaged, and much benefit expected from the change.

Emma heard that Frank wrote in the highest spirits of this arrangement, and seemed most fully to appreciate the blessing of having two months before him of such near neighbourhood to many dear friends - for the house was taken for May and June. She was told that now he wrote with the greatest confidence of being often with them, almost as often as he could even wish.

Emma saw how Mr. Weston understood these joyous prospects. He was considering her as the source of all the happiness they offered. She hoped it was not so. Two months must bring it to the proof.

Mr. Weston's own happiness was indisputable. He was quite delighted. It was the very circumstance he could have wished for. Now, it would be really having Frank in their neighbourhood. What were nine miles to a young man? - An hour's ride. He would be always coming over. The difference in that respect of Richmond and London was enough to make the whole difference of seeing him always and seeing him never. Sixteen miles - nay, eighteen - it must be full eighteen to Manchester-street - was a serious obstacle. Were he ever able to get away, the day would be spent in coming and returning. There was no comfort in having him in London; he might as well be at Enscombe; but Richmond was the very distance for easy intercourse. Better than nearer!

One good thing was immediately brought to a certainty by this removal, - the ball at the Crown. It had not been forgotten before, but it had been soon acknowledged vain to attempt to fix a day. Now, however, it was absolutely to be; every preparation was resumed, and very soon after the Churchills had removed to Richmond, a few lines from Frank, to say that his aunt felt already much better for the change, and that he had no doubt of being able to join them for twenty-four hours at any given time, induced them to name as early a day as possible.

Mr. Weston's ball was to be a real thing. A very few to-morrows stood between the young people of Highbury and happiness.

Mr. Woodhouse was resigned. The time of year lightened the evil to him. May was better for every thing than February. Mrs. Bates was engaged to spend the evening at Hartfield, James had due notice, and he sanguinely hoped that neither dear little Henry nor dear little John would have any thing the matter with them, while dear Emma were gone.

 

爱玛静下心来稍微想了想,就可以断定她听到弗兰克·邱吉尔先生要来的消息以后,心里是怎么个激动法。她很快就意识到,她担心也好,尴尬也罢,都不是为了她自己,而是为了他。她的情意委实完全消失了,根本不值得考虑。可是他们两人中,弗兰克无疑一直是感情更深一些,这次回来时如果还跟走时一样痴情,那就很难办了。如果分离两个月还不能使他情淡爱弛,那她爱玛就会面临危险和祸害。他们两个都必须谨慎行事。爱玛不打算再卷入感情的纠葛之中,也有责任别去激励他的痴情。

爱玛但愿自己能够阻止他明言直语地向她求爱。那样一来,他们目前的交情就要令人十分痛苦地结束了!然而,她又禁不住料想要出点什么事。她觉得好像今年春天一定会出现一场危机,出一件事,一件改变她目前平静安逸状况的大事。

没过多久(但比韦斯顿先生料想的要久一些),爱玛就有机会来判断弗兰克·邱吉尔的情感了。恩斯库姆那一家人并没像预想的那样早就来到伦敦,但弗兰克到了伦敦不久就来到海伯里。他骑马走了两个小时,不能再快了。不过,他是从兰多尔斯直奔哈特菲尔德的,因此爱玛可以用她敏锐的目光,迅速断定他心里是怎么想的,她应该怎样对付。他们极其友好地相见了。毫无疑问,弗兰克看见她很高兴。但爱玛几乎立即感觉到,他不像以前那样喜欢她,不像以前那样对她情意绵绵了。爱玛仔细地观察他。他显然不像以前那样痴情了。由于分离的缘故,加之他也许看出爱玛无意于他,因此便自然而然地产生了这种结果,这也是爱玛求之不得的。

弗兰克兴高采烈,跟以前一样爱说爱笑,似乎很喜欢谈论上次来做客的情形,重提一些往事,心里也不是一点不激动。爱玛不是从他的泰然自若中看出他比较淡漠。他并不泰然自若,情绪显然有些激动,心里有些忐忑不安。他虽然很活跃,但是对于这样的活跃他自己也不喜欢。不过,使爱玛对这件事坚定看法的是,他只待了一刻钟,便匆匆赶到海伯里别人家拜访去了。“我来的时候在街上遇见许多老相识——只是停下来问候了一声,不想再多停留——不过,我自以为要是不去拜访,人家会见怪的。尽管我很想在哈特菲尔德多待一会,可是也得赶紧走了。”

爱玛毫不怀疑他不像以前那样情意绵绵了——但是他情绪激动也好,匆匆离去也好,似乎都不是万全之策。她禁不住在想,这意味他担心她会使他旧情复萌,因此为了谨慎起见,他决定不要跟她久待在一起。

十天当中,弗兰克·邱吉尔只来过这么一次。他一次次地希望来,一次次地打算来——但始终没有来成。他舅妈不让他离开。这是他在兰多尔斯亲口说的。如果他说的是真话,如果他真的想来,那就可以断定:邱吉尔太太来到伦敦,并未治好她那任性和神经质的毛病。她真的病了,这是肯定的,弗兰克在兰多尔斯就声称,他对此深信不疑。虽说这里可能有神经质的成分,但他回想起来,觉得她的身体无疑比半年前来得虚弱。他认为只要悉心护理,注意用药,她那病没有什么治不好的,甚至也不会不久于人世。不管他父亲怎么怀疑,他都不会跟着说她的病是凭空想象出来的,也不会说她还跟以前一样健壮。

过了不久,看样子伦敦并不是适合她待的地方。她受不了那儿的喧闹,神经始终处于烦躁和苦恼之中。十天之后,她外甥写信到兰多尔斯说,计划改变了。他们马上要到里士满去住。有人向邱吉尔太太推荐了那儿的一位医术高明的名医,不然就是她自己想去那儿。他们选了一个适意的地点,租了一所备有家具的房子,心想换个地方对她会大有裨益。

爱玛听说,弗兰克兴高采烈地写到了这一安排,而且感到十分庆幸,他有两个月的时间——因为房子租了五、六两个月,能跟许多好朋友离得这么近。爱玛还听说,他在信中满怀信心地写道,他可以经常同他们在一起,几乎可以想什么时候在一起,就什么时候在一起。

爱玛看出了韦斯顿先生是怎样领会这喜幸的前景的。他认为这样的前景能给他带来满心的喜悦,那根源就在她爱玛。她倒希望事情并非如此。两个月的时间足以证实这一点了。

韦斯顿先生自己满怀喜悦是不容置疑的。他心里乐滋滋的,这正是他求之不得的。现在,弗兰克真要住在他们附近了。对于一个年轻人来说,九英里路算得了什么?骑马只要一个小时,他会经常过来的。里士满和伦敦有着天壤之别,一个是能天天见到他,一个却永远见不到他。十六英里——不,是十八英里——去曼彻斯特街足有十八英里——可是个不小的障碍。即使他抽得开身,一个来回也得花上一天。他待在伦敦没什么好的,跟住在恩斯库姆差不多,可是里士满距离适中,来往方便,再近一点反而没有这样好!

这次变化可以马上促成一件好事——克朗旅店的舞会。以前倒没忘记这件事,只是大家很快就意识到没法确定一个日子。然而,现在说什么也要举行了,于是重新开始了种种准备。邱吉尔一家住到里士满以后不久,弗兰克写来一封短信,说他舅妈换了环境觉得好多了,他随时都能来跟他们一起过上一整天,劝他们把日子尽可能定得早一些。

韦斯顿先生的舞会即将成为现实。过不了几天,海伯里的年轻人就可以痛痛快快地玩一场了。

伍德豪斯先生就不准备参加了。一年当中,这个季节对他来说烦恼要少一些。不管干什么,五月总比二月来得好。已经跟贝茨太太说定,那天晚上由她来哈特菲尔德作陪,还向詹姆斯作了必要的吩咐。他满心希望亲爱的爱玛不在家时,亲爱的小亨利和亲爱的小约翰都会相安无事。



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