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Part 3 Chapter 1

IT was a new idea--the ecclesiastical and altruistic life as distinct from the intellectual and emulative life. A man could preach and do good to his fellow-creatures without taking double-firsts in the schools of Christminster, or having anything but ordinary knowledge. The old fancy which had led on to the culminating vision of the bishopric had not been an ethical or theological enthusiasm at all, but a mundane ambition masquerading in a surplice. He feared that his whole scheme had degenerated to, even though it might not have originated in, a social unrest which had no foundation in the nobler instincts; which was purely an artificial product of civilization. There were thousands of young men on the same self-seeking track at the present moment. The sensual hind who ate, drank, and lived carelessly with his wife through the days of his vanity was a more likable being than he.

But to enter the Church in such an unscholarly way that he could not in any probability rise to a higher grade through all his career than that of the humble curate wearing his life out in an obscure village or city slum--that might have a touch of goodness and greatness in it; that might be true religion, and a purgatorial course worthy of being followed by a remorseful man.

The favourable light in which this new thought showed itself by contrast with his foregone intentions cheered Jude, as he sat there, shabby and lonely; and it may be said to have given, during the next few days, the COUP DE GRACE to his intellectual career--a career which had extended over the greater part of a dozen years. He did nothing, however, for some long stagnant time to advance his new desire, occupying himself with little local jobs in putting up and lettering headstones about the neighbouring villages, and submitting to be regarded as a social failure, a returned purchase, by the half-dozen or so of farmers and other country-people who condescended to nod to him.

The human interest of the new intention--and a human interest is indispensable to the most spiritual and self-sacrificing-- was created by a letter from Sue, bearing a fresh postmark. She evidently wrote with anxiety, and told very little about her own doings, more than that she had passed some sort of examination for a Queen's Scholarship, and was going to enter a training college at Melchester to complete herself for the vocation she had chosen, partly by his influence. There was a theological college at Melchester; Melchester was a quiet and soothing place, almost entirely ecclesiastical in its tone; a spot where worldly learning and intellectual smartness had no establishment; where the altruistic feeling that he did possess would perhaps be more highly estimated than a brilliancy which he did not.

As it would be necessary that he should continue for a time to work at his trade while reading up Divinity, which he had neglected at Christminster for the ordinary classical grind, what better course for him than to get employment at the further city, and pursue this plan of reading? That his excessive human interest in the new place was entirely of Sue's making, while at the same time Sue was to be regarded even less than formerly as proper to create it, had an ethical contradictoriness to which he was not blind. But that much he conceded to human frailty, and hoped to learn to love her only as a friend and kinswoman.

He considered that he might so mark out his coming years as to begin his ministry at the age of thirty--an age which much attracted him as being that of his exemplar when he first began to teach in Galilee. This would allow him plenty of time for deliberate study, and for acquiring capital by his trade to help his aftercourse of keeping the necessary terms at a theological college.

Christmas had come and passed, and Sue had gone to the Melchester Normal School. The time was just the worst in the year for Jude to get into new employment, and he had written suggesting to her that he should postpone his arrival for a month or so, till the days had lengthened. She had acquiesced so readily that he wished he had not proposed it-- she evidently did not much care about him, though she had never once reproached him for his strange conduct in coming to her that night, and his silent disappearance. Neither had she ever said a word about her relations with Mr. Phillotson.

Suddenly, however, quite a passionate letter arrived from Sue. She was quite lonely and miserable, she told him. She hated the place she was in; it was worse than the ecclesiastical designer's; worse than anywhere. She felt utterly friendless; could he come immediately?--though when he did come she would only be able to see him at limited times, the rules of the establishment she found herself in being strict to a degree. It was Mr. Phillotson who had advised her to come there, and she wished she had never listened to him.

Phillotson's suit was not exactly prospering, evidently; and Jude felt unreasonably glad. He packed up his things and went to Melchester with a lighter heart than he had known for months.

This being the turning over a new leaf he duly looked about for a temperance hotel, and found a little establishment of that description in the street leading from the station. When he had had something to eat he walked out into the dull winter light over the town bridge, and turned the corner towards the Close. The day was foggy, and standing under the walls of the most graceful architectural pile in England he paused and looked up. The lofty building was visible as far as the roofridge; above, the dwindling spire rose more and more remotely, till its apex was quite lost in the mist drifting across it.

The lamps now began to be lighted, and turning to the west front he walked round. He took it as a good omen that numerous blocks of stone were lying about, which signified that the cathedral was undergoing restoration or repair to a considerable extent. It seemed to him, full of the superstitions of his beliefs, that this was an exercise of forethought on the part of a ruling Power, that he might find plenty to do in the art he practised while waiting for a call to higher labours.

Then a wave of warmth came over him as he thought how near he now stood to the bright-eyed vivacious girl with the broad forehead and pile of dark hair above it; the girl with the kindling glance, daringly soft at times--something like that of the girls he had seen in engravings from paintings of the Spanish school. She was here-- actually in this Close--in one of the houses confronting this very west facade.

He went down the broad gravel path towards the building. It was an ancient edifice of the fifteenth century, once a palace, now a training-school, with mullioned and transomed windows, and a courtyard in front shut in from the road by a wall. Jude opened the gate and went up to the door through which, on inquiring for his cousin, he was gingerly admitted to a waiting-room, and in a few minutes she came.

Though she had been here such a short while, she was not as he had seen her last. All her bounding manner was gone; her curves of motion had become subdued lines. The screens and subtleties of convention had likewise disappeared. Yet neither was she quite the woman who had written the letter that summoned him. That had plainly been dashed off in an impulse which second thoughts had somewhat regretted; thoughts that were possibly of his recent self-disgrace. Jude was quite overcome with emotion.

"You don't--think me a demoralized wretch--for coming to you as I was-- and going so shamefully, Sue?"

"Oh, I have tried not to! You said enough to let me know what had caused it. I hope I shall never have any doubt of your worthiness, my poor Jude! And I am glad you have come!"

She wore a murrey-coloured gown with a little lace collar. It was made quite plain, and hung about her slight figure with clinging gracefulness. Her hair, which formerly she had worn according to the custom of the day was now twisted up tightly, and she had altogether the air of a woman clipped and pruned by severe discipline, an under-brightness shining through from the depths which that discipline had not yet been able to reach.

She had come forward prettily, but Jude felt that she had hardly expected him to kiss her, as he was burning to do, under other colours than those of cousinship. He could not perceive the least sign that Sue regarded him as a lover, or ever would do so, now that she knew the worst of him, even if he had the right to behave as one; and this helped on his growing resolve to tell her of his matrimonial entanglement, which he had put off doing from time to time in sheer dread of losing the bliss of her company.

Sue came out into the town with him, and they walked and talked with tongues centred only on the passing moments. Jude said he would like to buy her a little present of some sort, and then she confessed, with something of shame, that she was dreadfully hungry. They were kept on very short allowances in the college, and a dinner, tea, and supper all in one was the present she most desired in the world. Jude thereupon took her to an inn and ordered whatever the house afforded, which was not much. The place, however, gave them a delightful opportunity for a TETE-A-TETE, nobody else being in the room, and they talked freely.

She told him about the school as it was at that date, and the rough living, and the mixed character of her fellow-students, gathered together from all parts of the diocese, and how she had to get up and work by gas-light in the early morning, with all the bitterness of a young person to whom restraint was new. To all this he listened; but it was not what he wanted especially to know--her relations with Phillotson. That was what she did not tell. When they had sat and eaten, Jude impulsively placed his hand upon hers; she looked up and smiled, and took his quite freely into her own little soft one, dividing his fingers and coolly examining them, as if they were the fingers of a glove she was purchasing.

"Your hands are rather rough, Jude, aren't they?" she said.

"Yes. So would yours be if they held a mallet and chisel all day."

"I don't dislike it, you know. I think it is noble to see a man's hands subdued to what he works in.... Well, I'm rather glad I came to this training-school, after all. See how independent I shall be after the two years' training! I shall pass pretty high, I expect, and Mr. Phillotson will use his influence to get me a big school."

She had touched the subject at last. "I had a suspicion, a fear," said Jude, "that he--cared about you rather warmly, and perhaps wanted to marry you."

"Now don't be such a silly boy!"

"He has said something about it, I expect."

"If he had, what would it matter? An old man like him!"

"Oh, come, Sue; he's not so very old. And I know what I saw him doing

"Not kissing me--that I'm certain!"

"No. But putting his arm round your waist."

"Ah--I remember. But I didn't know he was going to."

"You are wriggling out if it, Sue, and it isn't quite kind!"

Her ever-sensitive lip began to quiver, and her eye to blink, at something this reproof was deciding her to say.

"I know you'll be angry if I tell you everything, and that's why I don't want to!"

"Very well, then, dear," he said soothingly. "I have no real right to ask you, and I don't wish to know."

"I shall tell you!" said she, with the perverseness that was part of her. "This is what I have done: I have promised--I have promised--that I will marry him when I come out of the training-school two years hence, and have got my certificate; his plan being that we shall then take a large double school in a great town--he the boys' and I the girls'-- as married school-teachers often do, and make a good income between us."

"Oh, Sue! ... But of course it is right--you couldn't have done better!"

He glanced at her and their eyes met, the reproach in his own belying his words. Then he drew his hand quite away from hers, and turned his face in estrangement from her to the window. Sue regarded him passively without moving.

"I knew you would be angry!" she said with an air of no emotion whatever. "Very well--I am wrong, I suppose! I ought not to have let you come to see me! We had better not meet again; and we'll only correspond at long intervals, on purely business matters!"

This was just the one thing he would not be able to bear, as she probably knew, and it brought him round at once. "Oh yes, we will," he said quickly. "Your being engaged can make no difference to me whatever. I have a perfect right to see you when I want to; and I shall!"

"Then don't let us talk of it any more. It is quite spoiling our evening together. What does it matter about what one is going to do two years hence!"

She was something of a riddle to him, and he let the subject drift away. "Shall we go and sit in the cathedral?" he asked, when their meal was finished.

"Cathedral? Yes. Though I think I'd rather sit in the railway station," she answered, a remnant of vexation still in her voice. "That's the centre of the town life now. The cathedral has had its day!"

"How modern you are!"

"So would you be if you had lived so much in the Middle Ages as I have done these last few years! The cathedral was a very good place four or five centuries ago; but it is played out now ... I am not modern, either. I am more ancient than mediaevalism, if you only knew."

Jude looked distressed.

"There--I won't say any more of that!" she cried. "Only you don't know how bad I am, from your point of view, or you wouldn't think so much of me, or care whether I was engaged or not. Now there's just time for us to walk round the Close, then I must go in, or I shall be locked out for the night."

He took her to the gate and they parted. Jude had a conviction that his unhappy visit to her on that sad night had precipitated this marriage engagement, and it did anything but add to his happiness. Her reproach had taken that shape, then, and not the shape of words. However, next day he set about seeking employment, which it was not so easy to get as at Christminster, there being, as a rule, less stone-cutting in progress in this quiet city, and hands being mostly permanent. But he edged himself in by degrees. His first work was some carving at the cemetery on the hill; and ultimately he became engaged on the labour he most desired-- the cathedral repairs, which were very extensive, the whole interior stonework having been overhauled, to be largely replaced by new. It might be a labour of years to get it all done, and he had confidence enough in his own skill with the mallet and chisel to feel that it would be a matter of choice with himself how long he would stay.

The lodgings he took near the Close Gate would not have disgraced a curate, the rent representing a higher percentage on his wages than mechanics of any sort usually care to pay. His combined bed and sitting-room was furnished with framed photographs of the rectories and deaneries at which his landlady had lived as trusted servant in her time, and the parlour downstairs bore a clock on the mantelpiece inscribed to the effect that it was presented to the same serious-minded woman by her fellow-servants on the occasion of her marriage. Jude added to the furniture of his room by unpacking photographs of the ecclesiastical carvings and monuments that he had executed with his own hands; and he was deemed a satisfactory acquisition as tenant of the vacant apartment.

He found an ample supply of theological books in the city book-shops, and with these his studies were recommenced in a different spirit and direction from his former course. As a relaxation from the Fathers, and such stock works as Paley and Butler, he read Newman, Pusey, and many other modern lights. He hired a harmonium, set it up in his lodging, and practised chants thereon, single and double.

 

进教会为他人谋福和勤学问为自身进取本是风马牛不相及的两回事:这就是裘德现在形成的新见解。一个人就算没在基督堂的学院得过双优,或者只有一般常识,别无他长,他照样可以布道传经,为自己的同类做好事。他原先的梦想是力争扶摇直上,以有朝一日荣登主教宝座为一生光辉的顶点,其实那不过是用宗教法衣伪装起来的凡夫俗子的野心罢了,哪儿谈得上积德行善,宏扬圣教的热忱。他现在很担心自己原来的计划,不论立意如何,已经堕落到钻社会空子,以求个人发迹,因为它根本不是以高尚信念为基础,纯属人类文明制造的一类赝品。眼下不是正有成千上万的青年一心在谋求私利的道路上奔竞征逐吗?倒是那“食、色,性也”的乡下当长工的,只管酒足饭饱,胡乱跟老婆睡热炕头,终年浑浑噩噩过日子,还要比他叫人多几分好感呢。

但是,如果他不以学者之身进教会,他肯定毕生不得跻身高级神职,充其极不过在偏僻乡村和城市贫民窟当个默默无闻的副牧师,朝夕奔忙,了此一生——不过这也许另具一种高尚品格,可以称之为名副其实的宗教吧,对于一个已追悔过去、天良发现的人,更不失为一条涤净灵魂污浊的道路。

他坐在那儿固然一副孤单寒酸相,但是这种有益的启示展现了他的新思想与旧意图之间的强烈对比,使他深受鼓舞。无妨说,以后若干天,他终于对以往十二年中占了大部分时间的求知生活做了彻底的清算。不过,此后相当一段时间,他却无所作为,停滞不前,没有把新理想积极向前推进,而是一天到晚在邻近村子就地忙着錾墓碑、镌碑文之类零活儿,甘心让六七个庄稼汉和老乡把他当个被社会甩掉的失败分子、卖不出去的废品,赏脸跟他打打招呼。

他的新意图也夹进了对人的情趣(连四大皆空。舍身殉道的人物也难免有对人的情趣),而这又是苏的来信一手制造的,信封上有个新地点邮戳。显然她因挂念他才写信,对自己究竟干什么语焉不详,只讲了通过什么考试,取得女王助学金,即将去麦尔切斯特一所进修学校上学,以取得她选择的职业所必备的资格云云——说实在的,她之做这样的选择不无他一份功劳。麦尔切斯特有所神学院;麦尔切斯特又是恬静宁谧的地方,差不多处处充满基督教气息,令人尘虑顿消,心旷神。冶,在那样的地方可没有卖弄世上风行的学问和聪明的地盘;他现在有心舍己为人,在当地或许比他所缺少的才华更受人尊重。

他在基督堂时专心致志于一般古典著作,对神学有所忽视,现在当然须在这方面补读才是,不过他也不能不继续干自己那行。那么到稍远的城市找职业,同时把这项读书计划付诸实现,岂不是一举两得的好办法?至于说他因新地方所引起的对人的情趣过于浓厚,究其所以,苏难辞共咎,因为她恰在此时兴此事端,比之以往,就更不相宜。就他本身而言,与此有关的伦理道德方面的矛盾性质,他并非视而不见,不过他又承认人类固有的弱点在所难免,他希望做到能在朋友和表亲关系范围内爱她就好。

他考虑今后这样划分自己的岁月:三十岁开始自己的传教事业——这个年纪对他颇有吸引力,因为先圣就是这个年纪头一次在加利利开始布道。这样他既可以有充裕时间潜心研究,又能靠手艺赚到足够的钱,以备他日支应在神学院修完各学期的必修课。

圣诞节来了又过去了,苏已到麦尔切斯特入学。然而对裘德来说,这恰好是一年里顶难找到工作的季节,于是他写信给苏,表示大概得推迟个把月才能到麦尔切斯特,因为到彼时天就长了。她随即表示同意,不过这又叫他后悔不迭,不该提那个意见——显然她拿他不当回事儿,虽说她压根儿没对他那晚上到她那儿,之后又偷偷溜走的古怪行为加以责备。她跟费乐生的关系,她也压根儿只字不提。

但是没想到她又来了封情真意挚的信。她告诉他,她觉得很孤独、很忧伤。她讨厌她呆的地方,它比她当过圣器设计师的地方还糟,比什么地方都糟。她感受不到一丁点友爱之情。他能不能马上就来呢?——不过就算他来了,她也只能在限定时间内跟他见面。她认为学校种种规定太严,与自己格格不入。原来是费乐生先生力促她到这地方,早知如此,她当初决不会听他的话。

显而易见,费乐生的求婚过程不见得一帆风顺。裘德因此而幸灾乐祸地感到高兴。于是他束装就道,前往麦尔切斯特,心情比前几个月轻松多了。

他的生活至此翻开了新篇,所以特意要住不卖酒的旅馆,结果在通往车站的路上找到一家,门面不大,条件合适。吃了点东西,他就出了旅馆,在冬日阴凄的光芒下走上市桥,转个弯,朝大教堂的界园走去。那天雾濛濛的,他在那座在英国以精美绝伦著称的建筑学杰作的围墙外止步不前,举目观赏。气势恢宏的大教堂的屋脊分明可见,其上塔楼身影则越往上越模糊,最后塔尖就在飘动的雾中隐没。

街灯这时亮起来了,他转到大教堂正西面,走了个来回。那儿堆放着很多大块石头,说明大教堂正在进行全面修复或大面积整修,他感到这是个好兆头。他现在信仰里的迷信色彩很浓,以为这正是统驭万方的神明力量有心预先安排,以便在他等着从事更高一筹的劳动时候,先把他熟练的那行的大堆活儿给他干。

他不由得想到那姑娘,她目光莹澈,前额广洁,额上乌发堆云,洋溢着欢快活泼的青春气息;她顾盼之间,自然流露着明亮的温柔,令人心醉,那意态叫他想起看过的西班牙派铜版画上的女郎。她这会儿离他站的地方够多近啊,想到这里,一股暖流通过了他的全身。她就在这儿啊,绝对在这界园之内啊,就在正对大教堂的西前脸的房子中间的一座里边啊。

他顺着宽阔的石铺甬道向那座十五世纪的古老壮观的大楼走去。它原先是王宫,如今成了进修学校,上面装有直棂窗和横槅窗,楼前是大院,围墙把外面的道路界开。裘德开了界园大门,走到楼门,打听他的表亲,人家把他轻手轻脚引进接待室。几分钟后,她进来了。

虽然她到那地方为时甚暂,但与他上次所见大为改观,以往轻快活泼的风度完全不见了,原来的切娜多姿转为板滞生硬。往常她对习俗虚与委蛇,巧妙周旋,绝不形诸词色,此时也同样见不到了。然而她又不完全是那位写信召他前来的女人。那封信显然是她一时冲动,不暇细择,仓促落笔的,过后一想,又有点后悔莫及,而她之作如此想,恐怕跟他前次自己造孽、丑态百出大有关系。想到这里,裘德不禁方寸大乱。

“苏,你不会因为我上回到你那儿那个狼狈样——又那样不要脸地溜掉,把我当成堕落的坏蛋吧?”

“哦,我可是费了好大劲儿才不那么想呢!你已经跟我说了怎么回事,说也说够了。我的亲爱的裘德,我希望从今以后再不会对你高尚的情操发生怀疑啦!你来了,我多高兴啊!”

她穿着带小花边领子的深绛色长袍,这件衣服做得朴实无华,恰好紧裹住她那苗条的腰身,分外显得淡雅宜人。她以前头发是按通行样式梳的,现在紧紧绾成个髻,整个神态表明她是个经过严厉纪律约束与调教的女人。但纪律无法管到她内心深处,潜在的灵性依然放出光芒。

她款款走过来,姿态美妙。裘德本来心急火燎地要吻她,但感到她不大会让他吻,他们只能守着表亲规矩,不可逾越。他的确看不出来苏有哪一点把他看成情人的迹象,或者以后会这样。既然她已了解他的最差一面,就算他有权得为情人,那也办不到了;不过这也有好处,可以促使他的决心下得越来越大,一定把他的一团糟的婚姻状况向她说个明白,而他先前所以一再延迟,就是因为实在怕失去同她相处的无穷乐趣。

她跟他一块儿走到市内,一路上谈个不停,无非是些闲杂话。裘德说他想买件小礼物送她,她却有点不好意思地表示她实在饿得慌。她们在学校只靠那么点津贴过日子,她这会儿极想得到的礼物就是把正餐、茶点和晚餐并起来,大吃一顿。裘德把她带到一家小客店,凡能上桌的东西都要到了,其实也没多少样。不过屋子里没人,倒给他们提供了称心的促膝交谈的机会。

她给他讲了那阵子学校的状况:简陋的生活条件,从主教区四面八方聚到一起的同学,各色人等,良莠不齐,以及她如何一大早起床,在汽灯下用功。说话时带着年轻人初次尝到从未经过的约束而引起的满腹牢骚。他只是听,一声不响;不过他特别想知道她跟费乐生的关系,这方面她什么也没提。在他们吃个不停的中间,裘德一时动情,把手放在她手上,她抬起头来,微微一笑,很自然地把他的手放在自己的柔软的小手上,掰开他的指头,不动声色地细细察看,仿佛它们是她正要买的手套的指头部分。

“裘德,你手真够粗的,对吧?”她说。

“对啊,你要是手指头天天抓锤子、凿子,也要这么粗啊。”

“我可不是不喜欢这样,这你明白。我认为一个人因为干活,手指头那样粗,你一看就觉着多高尚……好啦,我到了这个学校,心里还算高兴。两年一过,你就看见我独立到了什么程度!我的毕业成绩一定相当不错,费乐生先生要利用各方面关系,替我弄个大点小学教。”

她终于接触到这个话题。“我以前有点怀疑,有点不放心,”裘德说:“他待你这么热乎,怕是想跟你结婚吧。”

“别这样瞎七瞎八好吧。”

“我看他准是提过啦。”

“就是提了,又怎么样?他那么老大不小的。”

“哦,得了吧,苏,他年纪还不算大。我知道我瞧见过他干什么来着——”

“总不是吻我吧——这我敢打保票!”

“不是。不过他拿胳臂搂着你的腰来着。”

“哎——这我倒记得。可是我当时不知道他要这样。”

“你别这么兜圈子,一点不沾边,苏,你这样可不好啊。”

她的一向敏感的嘴唇颤动起来,眼睛开始一眨一眨的,这表示她为了这样的责难,忍不住要说什么。

“我知道我要是什么都跟你说了,你准生气,所以我才不想跟你说。”

“好啦,好啦,亲爱的,”裘德宽慰她,“我根本无权过问,再说我也不想知道。”

“我一定跟你说!”她说,表现出与生俱来的桀骛不驯。“我干的就是这个:我答应过——答应过,两年之后,我打师范学校毕业,拿到文凭,就嫁给他。他计划在大城市找个规模大的男女生合校的小学——他管男生,我管女生——结了婚的小学老师夫妇都这么办,这一来我们的收入就可观了。”

“哦,苏啊!……不过这当然合适不过喽——你这么着太好啦。”

他倏地瞧了她一眼,两下里眼光一对,他话里没说的意思,由眼睛说出来了。接着他把手从她手上抽出来,不高兴地掉开脸不看她,对着窗户。苏可是纹丝没动,只是冷冷地看他。

“我知道你准生气!”苏说,脸上看不出来感情变化。“那好吧——我看我还是错啦!我根本不该要你上这儿来看我。咱们顶好以后别见面;隔一大段时间写写信就行啦,信里纯粹谈点不痛不痒的官腔就行啦!”

这话正好触到他的痛处,大概她心里也知道,于是他又立刻把脸掉过来。“哦,对呀,咱们就这么办,”他挺麻利地说,“你订不订婚在我反正都一样。我完全有权利来看你,什么时想来看,就来看。我一定这样!”

“那咱们就别往下谈这个啦。这晚上,咱们在一块儿好好的,这一下给砸啦。两年之后,到底干什么,谁说得准呢!”

对他来说,她可是不大容易猜透的,他也就把这个题目撂开了。“咱们上大教堂那儿坐坐,好不好?”吃完饭,他问道。

“大教堂?好吧。不过我宁可上火车站坐坐。”她答道,声音里还留有一丝不快之意。“那地方现在是城市生活的中心呢。大教堂兴旺日子过去啦。”

“瞧你可真够新派的!”

“你要是跟我一样,前几年在中世纪过了那么久,你也要这个样啊!四五个世纪以前,大教堂的确是非常好的地方,可是这会儿它的戏唱完啦。……我倒算不上什么新派。我比古老的中世纪还古老,你但凡懂得就好啦。”

裘德露出难受样子。

“算啦——我决不再说这话啦!”她大声说。“现在问题是,按你的看法,你并不知道我有多坏,要不然你就不会为我想了那么多,也不会为我订了婚还是没订婚,心里老嘀咕。现在咱们绕着界园走过去吧,正好是时候,等下我就得进去,要不然整夜都给钞在外头啦。”

他陪她到了大门,就跟她分手了。裘德深信准是那个可悲的夜晚,他对她的讨厌的骚扰促成了那个婚约。就他而言,也就成了他的不幸。所以她是用这种形式责怪他,而非形诸言语。尽管如此,第二天他仍然着手找工作,这可不像在基督堂那么容易,在那座宁谧的城市,凿石之声罕闻,而且这方面人手大多是长期雇用的。不过他还是想方设法慢慢挤了进去,先是在山岗上墓园找到镌刻活儿,最后人家还是雇了他去干他一心想干的活儿——大教堂修复工程,规模很大,内部所有石头作品都要大修,基本上更新。

要完成大教堂修复工程大概要花好几年时间,他对自己运用锤子和凿子的本领信心十足,因此他认为干长干短,都看他自己怎么选择。

他在界园大门附近的住处,要按副牧师的身份,面子上也过得去,租金占他的工钱的比例,要比一般干技术活的师傅通常愿意出的高一截。他那间兼做卧室和起坐室的屋子里原来摆着教区长和大教长住宅的加了框子的照片,女房东当年是这两处的管家,在里边住过。楼下客厅的壁炉搁板上放着一口钟,上面刻的字说明它是当时与这个正派女人同事的仆人在她结婚时送的礼品。裘德也把自己的包打开,取出自己亲手制作的教会装饰用石刻作品和纪念碑的照片,与原来的陈设并列。房东认为他租了这间空屋子确实不错,是位令人满意的房客。

他发现市内书店大量供应神学读物。有别于从前的路子,如今他是按新精神和新方向重新开始学习。他读了《神父文集》和诸如佩利和巴特勒的大部头著作;作为调剂,又改读纽门、普赛和其他近代著名人士的著作。他还租了架小风琴摆在家里,用它练习弹奏单、复式重唱的圣歌。



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