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Chapter 14 The Parting

ON the day after the events described, the carriage and the luggage-cart drew up to the door at noon. Nicola, dressed for the journey, with his breeches tucked into his boots and an old overcoat belted tightly about him with a girdle, got into the cart and arranged cloaks and cushions on the seats. When he thought that they were piled high enough he sat down on them, but finding them still unsatisfactory, jumped up and arranged them once more.

"Nicola Dimitvitch, would you be so good as to take master's dressing-case with you? " said Papa's valet, suddenly standing up in the carriage, " It won't take up much room."

"You should have told me before, Michael Ivanitch," answered Nicola snappishly as he hurled a bundle with all his might to the floor of the cart. "Good gracious! Why, when my head is going round like a whirlpool, there you come along with your dressing- case!" and he lifted his cap to wipe away the drops of perspiration from his sunburnt brow.

The courtyard was full of bareheaded peasants in kaftans or simple shirts, women clad in the national dress and wearing striped handkerchiefs, and barefooted little ones--the latter holding their mothers' hands or crowding round the entrance- steps. All were chattering among themselves as they stared at the carriage. One of the postillions, an old man dressed in a winter cap and cloak, took hold of the pole of the carriage and tried it carefully, while the other postillion (a young man in a white blouse with pink gussets on the sleeves and a black lamb's-wool cap which he kept cocking first on one side and then on the other as he arranged his flaxen hair) laid his overcoat upon the box, slung the reins over it, and cracked his thonged whip as he looked now at his boots and now at the other drivers where they stood greasing the wheels of the cart--one driver lifting up each wheel in turn and the other driver applying the grease. Tired post-horses of various hues stood lashing away flies with their tails near the gate--some stamping their great hairy legs, blinking their eyes, and dozing, some leaning wearily against their neighbours, and others cropping the leaves and stalks of dark-green fern which grew near the entrance-steps. Some of the dogs were lying panting in the sun, while others were slinking under the vehicles to lick the grease from the wheels. The air was filled with a sort of dusty mist, and the horizon was lilac- grey in colour, though no clouds were to be seen, A strong wind from the south was raising volumes of dust from the roads and fields, shaking the poplars and birch-trees in the garden, and whirling their yellow leaves away. I myself was sitting at a window and waiting impatiently for these various preparations to come to an end.

As we sat together by the drawing-room table, to pass the last few moments en famille, it never occurred to me that a sad moment was impending. On the contrary, the most trivial thoughts were filling my brain. Which driver was going to drive the carriage and which the cart? Which of us would sit with Papa, and which with Karl Ivanitch? Why must I be kept forever muffled up in a scarf and padded boots?

"Am I so delicate? Am I likely to be frozen?" I thought to myself. "I wish it would all come to an end, and we could take our seats and start."

"To whom shall I give the list of the children's linen?" asked Natalia Savishna of Mamma as she entered the room with a paper in her hand and her eyes red with weeping.

"Give it to Nicola, and then return to say good-bye to them," replied Mamma. The old woman seemed about to say something more, but suddenly stopped short, covered her face with her handkerchief, and left the room. Something seemed to prick at my heart when I saw that gesture of hers, but impatience to be off soon drowned all other feeling, and I continued to listen indifferently to Papa and Mamma as they talked together. They were discussing subjects which evidently interested neither of them. What must be bought for the house? What would Princess Sophia or Madame Julie say? Would the roads be good?--and so forth.

Foka entered, and in the same tone and with the same air as though he were announcing luncheon said, "The carriages are ready." I saw Mamma tremble and turn pale at the announcement, just as though it were something unexpected.

Next, Foka was ordered to shut all the doors of the room. This amused me highly. As though we needed to be concealed from some one! When every one else was seated, Foka took the last remaining chair. Scarcely, however, had he done so when the door creaked and every one looked that way. Natalia Savishna entered hastily, and, without raising her eyes, sat own on the same chair as Foka. I can see them before me now-Foka's bald head and wrinkled, set face, and, beside him, a bent, kind figure in a cap from beneath which a few grey hairs were straggling. The pair settled themselves together on the chair, but neither of them looked comfortable.

I continued preoccupied and impatient. In fact, the ten minutes during which we sat there with closed doors seemed to me an hour. At last every one rose, made the sign of the cross, and began to say good-bye. Papa embraced Mamma, and kissed her again and again.

"But enough," he said presently. "We are not parting for ever."

"No, but it is-so-so sad! " replied Mamma, her voice trembling with emotion.

When I heard that faltering voice, and saw those quivering lips and tear-filled eyes, I forgot everything else in the world. I felt so ill and miserable that I would gladly have run away rather than bid her farewell. I felt, too, that when she was embracing Papa she was embracing us all. She clasped Woloda to her several times, and made the sign of the cross over him; after which I approached her, thinking that it was my turn. Nevertheless she took him again and again to her heart, and blessed him. Finally I caught hold of her, and, clinging to her, wept--wept, thinking of nothing in the world but my grief.

As we passed out to take our seats, other servants pressed round us in the hall to say good-bye. Yet their requests to shake hands with us, their resounding kisses on our shoulders, [The fashion in which inferiors salute their superiors in Russia.] and the odour of their greasy heads only excited in me a feeling akin to impatience with these tiresome people. The same feeling made me bestow nothing more than a very cross kiss upon Natalia's cap when she approached to take leave of me. It is strange that I should still retain a perfect recollection of these servants' faces, and be able to draw them with the most minute accuracy in my mind, while Mamma's face and attitude escape me entirely. It may be that it is because at that moment I had not the heart to look at her closely. I felt that if I did so our mutual grief would burst forth too unrestrainedly.

I was the first to jump into the carriage and to take one of the hinder seats. The high back of the carriage prevented me from actually seeing her, yet I knew by instinct that Mamma was still there.

"Shall I look at her again or not?" I said to myself. "Well, just for the last time," and I peeped out towards the entrance- steps. Exactly at that moment Mamma moved by the same impulse, came to the opposite side of the carriage, and called me by name. Rearing her voice behind me. I turned round, but so hastily that our heads knocked together. She gave a sad smile, and kissed me convulsively for the last time.

When we had driven away a few paces I determined to look at her once more. The wind was lifting the blue handkerchief from her head as, bent forward and her face buried in her hands, she moved slowly up the steps. Foka was supporting her. Papa said nothing as he sat beside me. I felt breathless with tears--felt a sensation in my throat as though I were going to choke, just as we came out on to the open road I saw a white handkerchief waving from the terrace. I waved mine in return, and the action of so doing calmed me a little. I still went on crying. but the thought that my tears were a proof of my affection helped to soothe and comfort me.

After a little while I began to recover, and to look with interest at objects which we passed and at the hind-quarters of the led horse which was trotting on my side. I watched how it would swish its tail, how it would lift one hoof after the other, how the driver's thong would fall upon its back, and how all its legs would then seem to jump together and the back-band, with the rings on it, to jump too--the whole covered with the horse's foam. Then I would look at the rolling stretches of ripe corn, at the dark ploughed fields where ploughs and peasants and horses with foals were working, at their footprints, and at the box of the carriage to see who was driving us; until, though my face was still wet with tears, my thoughts had strayed far from her with whom I had just parted--parted, perhaps, for ever. Yet ever and again something would recall her to my memory. I remembered too how, the evening before, I had found a mushroom under the birch- trees, how Lubotshka had quarrelled with Katenka as to whose it should be, and how they had both of them wept when taking leave of us. I felt sorry to be parted from them, and from Natalia Savishna, and from the birch-tree avenue, and from Foka. Yes, even the horrid Mimi I longed for. I longed for everything at home. And poor Mamma!--The tears rushed to my eyes again. Yet even this mood passed away before long.

 

我在上面所写的那些事发生的第二天上午十一点多钟,一辆装有弹簧的四轮马车和一辆小四轮马车停在大门口。尼古拉是上路的打扮,就是说,把裤腿塞到靴子里,把旧礼服用腰带紧紧地束起来。他站在四轮马车里,把外套和靠垫铺到座位上;他觉得太高,于是坐到靠垫上,不住地跳动着,把它们压下去。

“看在老天爷的份上,尼古拉·德米特里奇,把主人的小匣于放在您那边行不行?”爸爸的仆人喘吁吁地恳求着说,从装有弹簧的四轮马车里探出头来。“匣子很小……”

“您应该早些说,米海伊·伊凡内奇,”尼古拉很快地、气愤地回答说,然后用足力气把一个包裹丢在小四轮马车的车厢里。“说真的,我的脑袋本来就晕了,您偏偏又来上个小匣子!”他补充一句说,推了推帽子,擦掉被太阳晒黑的前额上的大汗珠。

家里的男仆都光着头,穿着常礼服、普通长衣,或者衬衣;妇女们穿着粗布衣服,头上包着条纹头巾,怀里抱着婴儿;还有赤脚的孩子们,都站在门口,望着马车,彼此交谈着。有二个车夫是个驼背的老头儿,戴着暖帽,穿着厚呢上衣,扶着马车的辕杆,摸弄着它,仔细打量着车轴。另外一个是漂亮的小伙子,穿着腋下有红布镶条的白衬衫,他搔着鬈曲的金发,一会儿把圆锥形的黑毡帽推到这只耳朵上,一会儿推到另一只耳朵上;把厚呢上衣放在驭台上,把缰绳也扔上去,他不时用他那编制的小鞭轻轻地抽打一下,一会儿望望自己的靴子,一会儿望望给小四轮马车涂油的车夫。有一个车夫使劲托着车子;另一个俯在车轮上,正仔细往车轴和车毂上涂油,为了不浪费留在刷子上的滑润油,甚至就把它涂在车轮边上。几匹毛色不同的、疲惫无力的驿马站在篱笆旁边,用尾巴驱拂着苍蝇。它们有的伸出毛茸茸的肿了的腿,眯缝着眼睛打瞌睡;有的因为无聊,就互相搔痒,或者咀嚼长在台阶旁边的粗糙的、暗绿色的羊齿植物的叶子和草茎。几条狼狗,有的卧在阳光下沉重地喘着气,有的走到两辆马车的阴影里,舐车轴上涂的油。空气中充满了灰蒙蒙的尘雾,地平线上呈现一片紫灰色,天空却没有一片乌云。一阵猛烈的西风从大路上和田野里卷起一股股尘土,吹弯了花园里高大的菩提树和白桦树的树梢,把枯黄的落叶刮到远方去。我坐在窗口,急不可耐地等待着一切准备停当。

当大家坐在客厅里,围着圆桌共同消磨最后的几分钟的时候,我根本没有想到我们将要面临着多么悲惨的时刻。最最无聊的思想掠过我的脑际。我暗自思量,不知哪个车夫赶小四轮马车,哪个车夫赶装着弹簧的马车?谁跟着爸爸,谁跟着卡尔·伊凡内奇?他们为什么一定要我围围巾,穿棉袄呢?

“难道我是个娇宝贝?我大概不会冻死。但愿这一切赶快弄好,就可以坐上车走啦!”

“请吩咐一声,我把孩子们的衣服清单交给谁呀?”娜达丽雅·萨维什娜含着泪,拿着一张字条走进来,对妈妈说。

“交给尼古拉,然后就同孩子们告别吧。”

老妇人想说什么,但是突然停住不响了,用手帕捂住脸,挥了挥手,就走出屋去。我看见这个举动,感到有些心酸,但是急.着上路的心情比这种情绪更强烈,我仍旧漫不经心地听着爸爸和妈妈谈话。他们在谈论分明双方都不感兴趣的问题:给家里买什么?对苏菲公爵小姐和朱丽叶讲些什么?路好不好走?

福加走进来,站在门口,恰恰象他平时报告:“饭准备好了!”的腔调一样,说了声:“马套好了!”我发觉,妈妈一听见这个消息就哆嗦了一下,脸色苍白,好象出乎她意料之外似的。

吩咐福加关上那个房间所有的门。这使我觉得很有趣,“好象大家在躲着什么人似的!”

大家都坐下来,福加也挨着椅子边坐下;但是他刚一坐下,门就咯吱响了一声,于是大家都回头看了看。娜达丽雅·萨维什娜匆匆忙忙走进屋来,眼睛抬也不抬,就在门边同福加坐在一张椅子上。我现在还好象看见福加的秃头,他那布满皱纹的、呆板的面孔和那个戴着包发帽,从帽下露出白发的慈祥老妇人的驼背身姿。他们挤着坐在一张椅子上,两个人都很局促不安。

我仍旧漠不关心,而且急不可耐。我觉得,关上门静坐的这十秒钟简直好象是整整一个钟头。最后大家终于都站起来,画了十字,开始告别。爸爸搂住妈妈,吻了她好几次。

“好了,我心爱的人!”爸爸说,“我们并不是永别呀!”

“终归是很伤心的!”妈妈说,因为含着泪,她的声音都发颤了。

我一听见这种声音,一看见她那抖动的嘴唇和含满泪水的眼睛,一切就都忘到九霄去外,我感到非常悲哀、痛苦和可怕,我真想跑掉,不愿和她告别。我这一瞬间才明白,她拥抱爸爸,也就是和我们告别了。

她吻了沃洛佳那么多次,在他身上画了那么多次十字,我以为,现在该轮到我了,于是就钻到前面去;但是,她一次又一次地替他祝福,把他紧紧抱在怀里。最后我搂住她,恋恋不舍地依偎着她,哭了又哭,什么都不想,只想着我的伤心事。

我们要上马车的时候,令人讨厌的仆人们在前厅里同我们告别。他们所说的“让我吻吻您的手”,他们印在我肩膀上的响吻和他们头上的油脂气味,在我心中唤起一种近似易于激动的人所感到的伤心的心情。在这种心情的支配下,当娜达丽雅·萨维什娜泪流满面向我告别的时候,我非常冷淡地吻了吻她的包发帽。

奇怪的是,我现在还好象看到所有仆人的面孔,而且能够细致入微地描绘出来;但是妈妈的容貌和姿态我却完全忘记了,也许这是因为我一直都鼓不起勇气来看她一眼。我觉得,如果我这么做,我和她的悲哀就会达到难以忍受的地步。

我抢先跑上装着弹簧的四轮马车,坐在后座上,撑起的车篷使我看不见任何东西,但是我的本能告诉我,妈妈还在马车旁边。

“我要不要再看看她?……是的,最后一次!”我自言自语地说着,从马车里探出头朝台阶望去。这时候,妈妈怀着同样的想法从马车的另一边走来,呼唤我的名字。听见她在身后叫我的声音,我就扭过身来,但是由于扭得太快,结果我们的头撞在一起了。她苦笑了一下,最后又非常、非常热烈地吻了我一次。

我们走了几丈的时候,我决定再看她一眼。一阵风吹起她头上那块小小的蓝头巾;她低着头,双手捂着脸,慢慢地走上台阶。福加扶着她。

爸爸坐在我身边,什么也没有说;我哭得喘不上气来,我的噪子象被什么东西哽住了,我简直害怕会闷死……上了大路,我们看见凉台上有人在挥白手帕。我开始挥我的手帕,这种动作使我平静了一点。我继续哭着;一想到我的眼泪足以证明我多情善感,就感高兴和欣慰。

走了一里左右,我坐得更舒适些,开始聚精会神地凝视眼前最近的物体——在我这边奔驰的拉边套马的臀部。我看看那匹花马怎样甩动尾巴,一只脚怎样叩打另一只,车夫的编制的马鞭怎样落到它身上,它的四脚怎样开始一齐跳动。我看见它身上的皮颈套和颈套上的铜环怎样跳动,我一直凝视到马尾附近的皮套布满汗珠为止。我开始四下环顾:观看起伏波动的成熟了的麦田,观看黑黝黝的休耕地,地里有时看得见一架木犁、一个农民和一匹带着马驹的母马;我观看里程标,甚至瞅一眼车夫的驭台,好看看跟我们去的是哪个车夫;我脸上的泪痕还没有干,我的思绪就已经远远地离开我的妈妈,也许我要同她永别了的妈妈。但是,一切回忆都使人想到她。我想起前一天我在白桦林荫路上找到的蘑菇,想起柳博奇卡和卡简卡争吵谁来采它,还想起同我们分别时她们怎样哭泣。

我舍不得离开她们!也舍不得离开娜达丽雅·萨维什娜和那条白桦林荫路,还舍不得离开福加!连那个很凶的米米,我也舍不得离开。我会都舍不得!而可怜的妈妈呢?泪水又涌到我的眼里;但是时间并不长。



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