小说搜索     点击排行榜   最新入库
首页 » 双语小说 » 诺桑觉寺 Northanger Abbey » Chapter 9
选择底色: 选择字号:【大】【中】【小】
Chapter 9

The progress of Catherine's unhappiness from the events of the evening was as follows. It appeared first in a general dissatisfaction with everybody about her, while she remained in the rooms, which speedily brought on considerable weariness and a violent desire to go home. This, on arriving in Pulteney Street, took the direction of extraordinary hunger, and when that was appeased, changed into an earnest longing to be in bed; such was the extreme point of her distress; for when there she immediately fell into a sound sleep which lasted nine hours, and from which she awoke perfectly revived, in excellent spirits, with fresh hopes and fresh schemes. The first wish of her heart was to improve her acquaintance with Miss Tilney, and almost her first resolution, to seek her for that purpose, in the pump-room at noon. In the pump-room, one so newly arrived in Bath must be met with, and that building she had already found so favourable for the discovery of female excellence, and the completion of female intimacy, so admirably adapted for secret discourses and unlimited confidence, that she was most reasonably encouraged to expect another friend from within its walls. Her plan for the morning thus settled, she sat quietly down to her book after breakfast, resolving to remain in the same place and the same employment till the clock struck one; and from habitude very little incommoded by the remarks and ejaculations of Mrs. Allen, whose vacancy of mind and incapacity for thinking were such, that as she never talked a great deal, so she could never be entirely silent; and, therefore, while she sat at her work, if she lost her needle or broke her thread, if she heard a carriage in the street, or saw a speck upon her gown, she must observe it aloud, whether there were anyone at leisure to answer her or not. At about half past twelve, a remarkably loud rap drew her in haste to the window, and scarcely had she time to inform Catherine of there being two open carriages at the door, in the first only a servant, her brother driving Miss Thorpe in the second, before John Thorpe came running upstairs, calling out, "Well, Miss Morland, here I am. Have you been waiting long? We could not come before; the old devil of a coachmaker was such an eternity finding out a thing fit to be got into, and now it is ten thousand to one but they break down before we are out of the street. How do you do, Mrs. Allen? A famous bag last night, was not it? Come, Miss Morland, be quick, for the others are in a confounded hurry to be off. They want to get their tumble over."

"What do you mean?" said Catherine. "Where are you all going to?"

"Going to? Why, you have not forgot our engagement! Did not we agree together to take a drive this morning? What a head you have! We are going up Claverton Down."

"Something was said about it, I remember," said Catherine, looking at Mrs. Allen for her opinion; "but really I did not expect you."

"Not expect me! That's a good one! And what a dust you would have made, if I had not come."

Catherine's silent appeal to her friend, meanwhile, was entirely thrown away, for Mrs. Allen, not being at all in the habit of conveying any expression herself by a look, was not aware of its being ever intended by anybody else; and Catherine, whose desire of seeing Miss Tilney again could at that moment bear a short delay in favour of a drive, and who thought there could be no impropriety in her going with Mr. Thorpe, as Isabella was going at the same time with James, was therefore obliged to speak plainer. "Well, ma'am, what do you say to it? Can you spare me for an hour or two? Shall I go?"

"Do just as you please, my dear," replied Mrs. Allen, with the most placid indifference. Catherine took the advice, and ran off to get ready. In a very few minutes she reappeared, having scarcely allowed the two others time enough to get through a few short sentences in her praise, after Thorpe had procured Mrs. Allen's admiration of his gig; and then receiving her friend's parting good wishes, they both hurried downstairs. "My dearest creature," cried Isabella, to whom the duty of friendship immediately called her before she could get into the carriage, "you have been at least three hours getting ready. I was afraid you were ill. What a delightful ball we had last night. I have a thousand things to say to you; but make haste and get in, for I long to be off."

Catherine followed her orders and turned away, but not too soon to hear her friend exclaim aloud to James, "What a sweet girl she is! I quite dote on her."

"You will not be frightened, Miss Morland," said Thorpe, as he handed her in, "if my horse should dance about a little at first setting off. He will, most likely, give a plunge or two, and perhaps take the rest for a minute; but he will soon know his master. He is full of spirits, playful as can be, but there is no vice in him."

Catherine did not think the portrait a very inviting one, but it was too late to retreat, and she was too young to own herself frightened; so, resigning herself to her fate, and trusting to the animal's boasted knowledge of its owner, she sat peaceably down, and saw Thorpe sit down by her. Everything being then arranged, the servant who stood at the horse's head was bid in an important voice "to let him go," and off they went in the quietest manner imaginable, without a plunge or a caper, or anything like one. Catherine, delighted at so happy an escape, spoke her pleasure aloud with grateful surprise; and her companion immediately made the matter perfectly simple by assuring her that it was entirely owing to the peculiarly judicious manner in which he had then held the reins, and the singular discernment and dexterity with which he had directed his whip. Catherine, though she could not help wondering that with such perfect command of his horse, he should think it necessary to alarm her with a relation of its tricks, congratulated herself sincerely on being under the care of so excellent a coachman; and perceiving that the animal continued to go on in the same quiet manner, without showing the smallest propensity towards any unpleasant vivacity, and (considering its inevitable pace was ten miles an hour) by no means alarmingly fast, gave herself up to all the enjoyment of air and exercise of the most invigorating kind, in a fine mild day of February, with the consciousness of safety. A silence of several minutes succeeded their first short dialogue; it was broken by Thorpe's saying very abruptly, "Old Allen is as rich as a Jew -- is not he?" Catherine did not understand him -- and he repeated his question, adding in explanation, "Old Allen, the man you are with."

"Oh! Mr. Allen, you mean. Yes, I believe, he is very rich."

"And no children at all?"

"No -- not any."

"A famous thing for his next heirs. He is your godfather, is not he?"

"My godfather! No."

"But you are always very much with them."

"Yes, very much."

"Aye, that is what I meant. He seems a good kind of old fellow enough, and has lived very well in his time, I dare say; he is not gouty for nothing. Does he drink his bottle a day now?"

"His bottle a day! No. Why should you think of such a thing? He is a very temperate man, and you could not fancy him in liquor last night?"

"Lord help you! You women are always thinking of men's being in liquor. Why, you do not suppose a man is overset by a bottle? I am sure of this -- that if everybody was to drink their bottle a day, there would not be half the disorders in the world there are now. It would be a famous good thing for us all."

"I cannot believe it."

"Oh! Lord, it would be the saving of thousands. There is not the hundredth part of the wine consumed in this kingdom that there ought to be. Our foggy climate wants help."

"And yet I have heard that there is a great deal of wine drunk in Oxford."

"Oxford! There is no drinking at Oxford now, I assure you. Nobody drinks there. You would hardly meet with a man who goes beyond his four pints at the utmost. Now, for instance, it was reckoned a remarkable thing, at the last party in my rooms, that upon an average we cleared about five pints a head. It was looked upon as something out of the common way. Mine is famous good stuff, to be sure. You would not often meet with anything like it in Oxford -- and that may account for it. But this will just give you a notion of the general rate of drinking there."

"Yes, it does give a notion," said Catherine warmly, "and that is, that you all drink a great deal more wine than I thought you did. However, I am sure James does not drink so much."

This declaration brought on a loud and overpowering reply, of which no part was very distinct, except the frequent exclamations, amounting almost to oaths, which adorned it, and Catherine was left, when it ended, with rather a strengthened belief of there being a great deal of wine drunk in Oxford, and the same happy conviction of her brother's comparative sobriety.

Thorpe's ideas then all reverted to the merits of his own equipage, and she was called on to admire the spirit and freedom with which his horse moved along, and the ease which his paces, as well as the excellence of the springs, gave the motion of the carriage. She followed him in all his admiration as well as she could. To go before or beyond him was impossible. His knowledge and her ignorance of the subject, his rapidity of expression, and her diffidence of herself put that out of her power; she could strike out nothing new in commendation, but she readily echoed whatever he chose to assert, and it was finally settled between them without any difficulty that his equipage was altogether the most complete of its kind in England, his carriage the neatest, his horse the best goer, and himself the best coachman. "You do not really think, Mr. Thorpe," said Catherine, venturing after some time to consider the matter as entirely decided, and to offer some little variation on the subject, "that James's gig will break down?"

"Break down! Oh! Lord! Did you ever see such a little tittuppy thing in your life? There is not a sound piece of iron about it. The wheels have been fairly worn out these ten years at least -- and as for the body! Upon my soul, you might shake it to pieces yourself with a touch. It is the most devilish little rickety business I ever beheld! Thank God! we have got a better. I would not be bound to go two miles in it for fifty thousand pounds."

"Good heavens!" cried Catherine, quite frightened. "Then pray let us turn back; they will certainly meet with an accident if we go on. Do let us turn back, Mr. Thorpe; stop and speak to my brother, and tell him how very unsafe it is."

"Unsafe! Oh, lord! What is there in that? They will only get a roll if it does break down; and there is plenty of dirt; it will be excellent falling. Oh, curse it! The carriage is safe enough, if a man knows how to drive it; a thing of that sort in good hands will last above twenty years after it is fairly worn out. Lord bless you! I would undertake for five pounds to drive it to York and back again, without losing a nail."

Catherine listened with astonishment; she knew not how to reconcile two such very different accounts of the same thing; for she had not been brought up to understand the propensities of a rattle, nor to know to how many idle assertions and impudent falsehoods the excess of vanity will lead. Her own family were plain, matter-of-fact people who seldom aimed at wit of any kind; her father, at the utmost, being contented with a pun, and her mother with a proverb; they were not in the habit therefore of telling lies to increase their importance, or of asserting at one moment what they would contradict the next. She reflected on the affair for some time in much perplexity, and was more than once on the point of requesting from Mr. Thorpe a clearer insight into his real opinion on the subject; but she checked herself, because it appeared to her that he did not excel in giving those clearer insights, in making those things plain which he had before made ambiguous; and, joining to this, the consideration that he would not really suffer his sister and his friend to be exposed to a danger from which he might easily preserve them, she concluded at last that he must know the carriage to be in fact perfectly safe, and therefore would alarm herself no longer. By him the whole matter seemed entirely forgotten; and all the rest of his conversation, or rather talk, began and ended with himself and his own concerns. He told her of horses which he had bought for a trifle and sold for incredible sums; of racing matches, in which his judgment had infallibly foretold the winner; of shooting parties, in which he had killed more birds (though without having one good shot) than all his companions together; and described to her some famous day's sport, with the fox-hounds, in which his foresight and skill in directing the dogs had repaired the mistakes of the most experienced huntsman, and in which the boldness of his riding, though it had never endangered his own life for a moment, had been constantly leading others into difficulties, which he calmly concluded had broken the necks of many.

Little as Catherine was in the habit of judging for herself, and unfixed as were her general notions of what men ought to be, she could not entirely repress a doubt, while she bore with the effusions of his endless conceit, of his being altogether completely agreeable. It was a bold surmise, for he was Isabella's brother; and she had been assured by James that his manners would recommend him to all her sex; but in spite of this, the extreme weariness of his company, which crept over her before they had been out an hour, and which continued unceasingly to increase till they stopped in Pulteney Street again, induced her, in some small degree, to resist such high authority, and to distrust his powers of giving universal pleasure.

When they arrived at Mrs. Allen's door, the astonishment of Isabella was hardly to be expressed, on finding that it was too late in the day for them to attend her friend into the house: "Past three o'clock!" It was inconceivable, incredible, impossible! And she would neither believe her own watch, nor her brother's, nor the servant's; she would believe no assurance of it founded on reason or reality, till Morland produced his watch, and ascertained the fact; to have doubted a moment longer then would have been equally inconceivable, incredible, and impossible; and she could only protest, over and over again, that no two hours and a half had ever gone off so swiftly before, as Catherine was called on to confirm; Catherine could not tell a falsehood even to please Isabella; but the latter was spared the misery of her friend's dissenting voice, by not waiting for her answer. Her own feelings entirely engrossed her; her wretchedness was most acute on finding herself obliged to go directly home. It was ages since she had had a moment's conversation with her dearest Catherine; and, though she had such thousands of things to say to her, it appeared as if they were never to be together again; so, with sniffles of most exquisite misery, and the laughing eye of utter despondency, she bade her friend adieu and went on.

Catherine found Mrs. Allen just returned from all the busy idleness of the morning, and was immediately greeted with, "Well, my dear, here you are," a truth which she had no greater inclination than power to dispute; "and I hope you have had a pleasant airing?"

"Yes, ma'am, I thank you; we could not have had a nicer day."

"So Mrs. Thorpe said; she was vastly pleased at your all going."

"You have seen Mrs. Thorpe, then?"

"Yes, I went to the pump-room as soon as you were gone, and there I met her, and we had a great deal of talk together. She says there was hardly any veal to be got at market this morning, it is so uncommonly scarce."

"Did you see anybody else of our acquaintance?"

"Yes; we agreed to take a turn in the Crescent, and there we met Mrs. Hughes, and Mr. and Miss Tilney walking with her."

"Did you indeed? And did they speak to you?"

"Yes, we walked along the Crescent together for half an hour. They seem very agreeable people. Miss Tilney was in a very pretty spotted muslin, and I fancy, by what I can learn, that she always dresses very handsomely. Mrs. Hughes talked to me a great deal about the family."

"And what did she tell you of them?"

"Oh! A vast deal indeed; she hardly talked of anything else."

"Did she tell you what part of Gloucestershire they come from?"

"Yes, she did; but I cannot recollect now. But they are very good kind of people, and very rich. Mrs. Tilney was a Miss Drummond, and she and Mrs. Hughes were schoolfellows; and Miss Drummond had a very large fortune; and, when she married, her father gave her twenty thousand pounds, and five hundred to buy wedding-clothes. Mrs. Hughes saw all the clothes after they came from the warehouse."

"And are Mr. and Mrs. Tilney in Bath?"

"Yes, I fancy they are, but I am not quite certain. Upon recollection, however, I have a notion they are both dead; at least the mother is; yes, I am sure Mrs. Tilney is dead, because Mrs. Hughes told me there was a very beautiful set of pearls that Mr. Drummond gave his daughter on her wedding-day and that Miss Tilney has got now, for they were put by for her when her mother died."

"And is Mr. Tilney, my partner, the only son?"

"I cannot be quite positive about that, my dear; I have some idea he is; but, however, he is a very fine young man, Mrs. Hughes says, and likely to do very well."

Catherine inquired no further; she had heard enough to feel that Mrs. Allen had no real intelligence to give, and that she was most particularly unfortunate herself in having missed such a meeting with both brother and sister. Could she have foreseen such a circumstance, nothing should have persuaded her to go out with the others; and, as it was, she could only lament her ill luck, and think over what she had lost, till it was clear to her that the drive had by no means been very pleasant and that John Thorpe himself was quite disagreeable.

晚上的事件给凯瑟琳带来的不快是这样发展的:她还呆在舞厅时,先是对周围的每个人普遍感到不满,这种不满很快引起了极度的疲倦,急切地想回家。一回到普尔蒂尼街。又变成了饥肠辘辘,吃饱饭后,一个劲儿地就想睡觉。这是她烦恼的极点,因为她一躺到床上,便立刻沉沉地睡着了。这一觉持续了九个钟头,醒来时完全恢复了元气,不觉精神焕发,心里产生了新的希望,新的计划。她心中的第一个愿望是进一步结交蒂尔尼小姐,而午间为此目的到矿泉厅去找她,则几乎成了她决意要做的第一桩事。新来巴思的人总会在矿泉厅里碰见,而且她已经发觉,这个地方十分有利于发现女人的优点,十分有助于促成女人的亲密,同时也是秘密交谈和倾诉的好地方,她完全有理由期望在那里再交上一位朋友。她上午的计划就这么定了,吃过早饭后便安安静静地坐下来看书,决计一动不动地看到一点。由于习惯的缘故,艾伦太太的说话和喊叫并没给她带来多少干扰。这位太太心灵空虚,不善动脑,她从来不曾滔滔不绝过,也绝对做不到完全闭口不言。因此,当她坐着做活时,一旦丢了针或是断了线,一旦听见街上有马车声,一旦看见自己衣服上有污迹,她定要大声喊叫起来,也不管旁边是否有人有空答理她。十二点左右,她听见一阵响亮的敲门声,便赶忙跑到窗口。她告诉凯瑟琳说,门口来了两辆敞篷马车,头一辆里只有一个仆人,他哥哥赶着车和索普小姐坐在第二辆上。话音未落,便听约翰·索普咚咚咚跑上楼来,一面大声吆喊:“莫兰小姐,我来了。让你久等了吧?我们早来不了,那个造车的老混蛋找了半天才找到一辆凑合能坐的车,十有人九,不等我们出这条街,那车准得散架。你好啊,艾伦太太?昨晚的舞会令人满意吧?来,莫兰小姐,快来,其他人都急匆匆地要走。他们想摔跟头哪。”

“你这是什么意思?”凯瑟琳说。“你们要上哪儿?”

“上哪儿!怎么,你忘了我们的约会?难道我们没有一起约定今天上午坐车出游?你这是什么记性?我们要去克拉沃顿高地。”

“我记起来了,有这么回事,”凯瑟琳说道,一面望着艾伦太太,要她拿主意。“可我真没想到你会来。”

“没想到我会来!说得倒轻巧!我假使不来,你不知道会怎么闹呢!”

在这同时,凯瑟琳向她的朋友使的眼神全都白费了,因为艾伦太太本人向来没有以眼传神的习惯,也不晓得别人会这么做。凯瑟琳纵使渴望再次见到希尔尼小姐,但她觉得这事可以推迟一下,暂且不如先坐车出去玩玩。她觉得,既然伊莎贝拉能和詹姆斯一同出去,她陪陪索普先生也未尝不妥。因此,她只好把话说明白些。“太太,你看怎么样?能放我一两个钟头吗?我可以去吗?”

“你愿去就去吧,亲爱的,”艾伦太太心平气和地答道,显得毫不介意。凯瑟琳会意,马上跑去做准备。索普引着艾伦太太对他的马车夸奖了一番,然后两人又开始称赞凯瑟琳,还没说上两句,凯瑟琳便出来了。接受了艾伦太太的祝愿之后,两位年轻人便匆匆跑下了楼。凯瑟琳上车前,先去看了看自己的朋友。“我亲爱的宝贝,”只听伊莎贝拉大声嚷道,“你至少打扮了三个钟头。我还担心你病倒了呢。我们昨天晚上的舞会多有意思啊!我有一肚子的话要跟你说。快上车,我正急着走呢。”

凯瑟琳遵从她的命令,刚转身走开,便听见她的朋友对詹姆斯大声惊叹:“多可爱的姑娘!我太喜欢她了。”

“莫兰小姐,”索普扶她上车时说道,“要是我的马一开头有点蹦蹦跳跳,你可别害怕。很可能往前冲一两下,也许耍一会赖才肯走。不过,它马上就会认得它的主人的。这家伙性子烈,虽然淘气,却也没有恶癖。”

凯瑟琳听他这么一刻画,觉得事情不妙,但是打退堂鼓又来不及了,何况她又年轻好胜,不肯承认害怕。因此,只好听天由命,就看那牲口像不像吹得那样认得主人了。凯瑟琳安安静静地坐下来,看着索普也在她身旁坐下。一切安排停当,主人以庄严的口吻,命令立在马首的仆人“启程”。于是,大家出发了,马没冲也没跳,什么事情都没发生,那个平平稳稳的劲儿简直令人难以想象。真是谢天谢地,凯瑟琳幸免了一场惊吓,她带着惊喜的口气,大声道出了心里的喜悦之情。她的伙伴立即把事情说得十分简单,告诉她那完全由于他拉缰绳拉得特别得法,挥鞭子挥得特别准确老练。凯瑟琳觉得,索普能如此熟练地驾驭他的马,却又偏要用它的恶癖来吓唬她,这叫她不能不感到奇怪。尽管如此,她还是衷心庆幸自己受到这样一个好驭手的关照。她觉得那马仍然安安稳稳地走着,丝毫看不出想要恶作剧的样子,况且,鉴于它每小时肯定走十英里,这速度也决非快得可怕。因此她就放下了心,在这和煦的二月天气里,尽情地呼吸着新鲜空气,享受着这种最能令人心旷神怡的驱车运动。他们头一次简短的对话之后,沉默了几分钟。蓦然间,这沉默被索普打破了:“老艾伦跟犹太佬一样有钱吧?”凯瑟琳没听懂他的意思,他又重复问了一声,并且补充解释说:“老艾伦,就是你跟他在一起的那个人。”

“噢!你是指艾伦先生。是的,我想他是很有钱。”

“还没有孩子吧?”

“是的,一个也没有。”

“真美了他的旁系亲属。它不是你的教父吗?”

“我的教父?不。”

“可你总是和他在一起吧?”

“是的,常在一起。”

“啊,我就是这个意思。他似乎是个挺好的老头,一辈子想必过得还挺不错的。他不会无缘无故得上痛风病的。他是不是每天都喝一瓶呀?”

“每天都喝一瓶!不。你怎么想到这上头来了?他是个很有节制的人,你不会以为他昨天晚上喝醉了吧?”

“我的天哪!你们女人总是把男人看得醉醺醺的。怎么,你不认为一瓶酒就能把人弄颠倒吗?我敢这么说:要是每人人天天喝一瓶酒的话,如今的世界决不会出那么多乱子。那对我们大家都是件大好事。”

“这叫我无法相信。”

“噢,天哪!那会拯救成千上万的人。王国消费的酒连应该消费的百分之一都不到。我们这种多雾的天气,就需要以酒相助。”

“然而我听人说,牛津就要喝好多好多酒。”

“牛津!你尽管放心好啦,牛津现在没有喝酒的。那里没人喝酒。你很难遇到一个酒量超过四品特的人。比方说,上次在我宿舍里举行的宴会上,我们平均每人报销五品特,这被认为是很了不起的事情了。大家都认为这是异乎寻常的。当然,我那是上等好酒。你在牛津难得见到这样好的酒,这也许是大家喝得多的原因。不过这只是让你对牛津那儿的一般酒量有个概念。”

“是的,确实有个概念,”凯瑟琳激动地说。“那就是说,你们喝得比我原先想象的多得多。不过,我相信詹姆斯不会喝那么多。”

这句话惹得索普扯着嗓门,不容分说地回答起来,具体说的什么,一句也听不清楚,只知道里面夹杂着许多大喊大叫,近似赌咒发誓。索普说完后,凯瑟琳越发相信牛津那儿酒风很盛,同时也为她哥哥的比较节制感到高兴。

这时,索普的脑子又回到他的车马的优点长处上,他让凯瑟琳赞赏他的马走起路来多么刚劲有力,潇洒自如。马的步履,还有那精制的弹簧,使马车的运动显得多么悠闲舒适。凯瑟琳尽量效仿着他来赞赏。要抢在他前头说,或者说得比他高明,那是不可能的。在这方面。他是无所不知,她却一无所知,但是喋喋不休,她却缺乏自信,这就使她无法抢先,无法比他高明。她想不出什么新鲜的赞美词,只能他说什么,她就赶忙随声附和。最后,两人毫不费劲地便谈定,在英格兰,就数索普的车马设备最完善,他的马车最轻巧,他的马匹最能跑,而他自己的赶车技术又最高。

过了一阵,凯瑟琳贸然以为此事已经有了定论,便想稍许变换点花样,于是说道:“索普先生,你当真认为詹姆斯的马车会散架?”

“会散架!哦,天哪!你生平什么时候见过这样摇摇晃晃的玩艺儿!整个车上没有一个完好的铁件。轮子磨损了至少有十年。至于车身,我敢说,就是你用手一碰,也能把它摇个粉碎。我从没见过这么摇摇晃晃的破玩艺儿!谢天谢地!我们这辆比它强。就是给我五万镑,让我坐着它走两英里,我也不干。”

“天哪 !”凯瑟琳给吓坏了,大叫起来,“那我们还是往回转吧。我们再往前走、他们准会出事的。快往回转吧,索普先生。快停下和我哥哥说说,告诉他太危险。”

“危险!哦,天哪!那有什么!车子垮了,大不了摔个跟斗。地上有的是土,摔下去可好玩呢。哦,该死!

只要你会驾驭,那马车安全得很。这种家伙要是落到能人手里,即使破烂不堪,也能用上二十多年。愿上帝保佑你!谁给我五英镑,“我就驾着它到约克跑个来回,保证一个钉子也不丢。”

凯瑟琳惊讶地听着。同一件东酉,却有两种截然不同的说法,她不知道如何把它们协调起来。她没受过专门教育,不懂得碎嘴子人的脾气,也不晓得过分的虚荣会导致多少毫无根据的谬论和肆无忌惮的谎言。她自己家里的人都是些实实在在的普通人,很少耍弄什么小聪明。她父亲至多来个双关语就满足了,她母亲最多来句谚语,他们没有为了抬高身价而说谎的习惯,也不会说前后矛盾的话。凯瑟琳茫然不解地把这事思忖了一阵,曾不止一次地想请索普先生把自己对这件事的真正看法说得更明白一些,但她还是忍住了,因为她觉得索普先生说不明白。他不可能把先前说得模棱两可的话解释清楚。除此之外,她还考虑到:索普先生既然能轻而易举地搭救他妹妹和她的朋友,他不会当真让他们遭到危险的。凯瑟琳最后断定,索普先生一定知道那辆车子实际上是绝对保险的,因此她也就不再惊慌失措了。索普似乎全然忘记了这件事。他余下的谈话(或者说讲话),自始至终都环绕着他自己和他自己的事情。他讲到了马,说他只用一丁点儿钱买进来,再以惊人的大价卖出去;讲到了赛马,说他总能万无一失地事先断定哪匹马能赢;讲到了打猎,说他虽然没有好好瞄准放一枪,但打死的鸟比他所有的同伴总共打死的还多。他还向凯瑟琳描述了他有几天带着狐提去狩猎的出色表演,由于他富有预见和善于指挥猎犬,纠正了许多最老练的猎手所犯的错误;同时,他骑起马来勇猛无畏,这虽然一时一刻也没危及他自己的性命,但却时常带得别人出了麻烦,他若无其事地断定、不少人给摔断了脖子。虽然凯瑟琳没有独立判断的习惯,虽然她对男人的整个看法是摇摆不定的,但是当她听着索普滔滔不绝地自吹自擂时,她却不然不怀疑这个人是否真的讨人喜爱。这是个大胆的怀疑,因为索普是伊莎贝拉的哥哥,而且她听詹姆斯说过,他的言谈举止会含使他博得所有女人的欢心。尽管如此,两人出游不到一个钟头。凯瑟琳便极度厌烦同索普在一起了,直至车子回到普尔蒂尼街,这种厌烦情绪一直不断增长。于是,她就多少有点抗拒那个至高的权威,不相信索普有能耐到处讨人喜爱。

来到艾伦太太门口,伊莎贝拉发现时候不早了,不能陪她的朋友进屋了,那个惊讶劲儿,简直无法形容。“过三点了!这真是不可思议,不可置信,也不可能!她既不据信自己的表,也不相信她哥哥的表,更不相信佣人的表。她不肯相信别人凭着理智和事实作出的保证,直至莫兰掏出表,核实了事实真相,这时候再多怀疑一刹那,将同样不可思议,不可置信,也不可能。她只能一再分辩说,以前从没有哪两个半钟头过得这么快;并要拉着凯瑟琳证明她说的是实话。但是,凯瑟琳即使想取悦伊莎见拉,也不能说谎。好在伊莎贝拉没有等待她的回答,因此也就省得她痛苦地听见朋友表示异议的话音。她完全沉浸在自已的感情里。当她发现必须立刻回家的时候,她感到难过极了。自从她们上次说了两句话以后,她已有好久没同她最亲爱的凯瑟琳聊一聊了。虽然她有一肚子的话要对她说,但是她们仿佛永远不会再在一起了。于是她带着无比辛酸的微笑和极端沮丧的笑脸,辞别了她的朋友,往前走去。

艾伦太太无所事事地忙碌了一个上午之后刚刚回来,一见到凯瑟琳便马上招呼道:“哦,好孩子,你回来了!”对于这个事实,凯瑟琳既没能力,也没心思加以否认。“这趟风兜得挺愉快吧?”

“是的。太太,谢谢。今天天气再好不过了。”

“索普太太也是这么说的。她真高兴你们都去了。”

“这么说,你见过索普太太了?”

“是的。你们一走,我就去矿泉厅,在那儿遇见了她,和她一起说了好多话。她说今天上午市场上简直买不到小牛肉,真是奇缺。”

“你还看见别的熟人吗?”

“看见了。我们决定到新月街兜一圈,在那儿遇见了休斯太太以及同她一起散步的蒂尔尼兄妹。”

“你真看见他们了?他们和你说话了没有?”

“说了。我们一起沿新月街溜达了半个钟头。他们看来都是很和悦的人。蒂尔尼小姐穿了一身十分漂亮的带斑点的细纱衣服。据我看,她总是穿得很漂亮。休斯太太跟我谈了许多关于她家的事。”

“她说了些什么事?”

“噢!的确说了不少。她几乎不谈别的事。”

“她有没有告诉你他们是格洛斯特郡什么地方人?”

“告诉过.可我现在记不起了。他们是很好的大家,很有钱。蒂尔尼太太原是一位德拉蒙德家的小姐,和休斯太太同过学。德拉蒙德小姐有一大笔财产,父亲给了她两万镑,还给了五百镑买结婚礼服用。衣服从服装店拿回来时,休斯太太全看见了。”

“蒂尔尼夫妇都在巴思吗?”

“我想是的,但我不敢肯定。不过我再一想,他们好像都去世了,至少那位太太不在了。是的.蒂尔尼太太肯定不在了,因为休斯太太告诉我说,德拉蒙德先生在女儿出嫁那天送给她一串美丽的珍珠,现在就归蒂尔尼小姐所有,因为她母亲去世后,这串珠子就留给她了。”

“我那个舞伴蒂尔尼先生是不是独子?”

“这我可不敢肯定,孩子。我隐约记得他是独子。不过休斯太太说,他是个很出色的青年,可能很有出息。”

凯瑟琳没有再追问下去。她听到的情况足以使她感到,艾伦太太提供不出可靠的消息、而最使她感觉不幸的是,她错过了同那兄妹俩的一次见面机会。假使她早能预见这个情况,她说什么也不会跟着别人出游。实际上,她只能埋怨自己有多倒霉,思忖自己有多大损失,直至清楚地认识到,这次兜风压根儿就不令人开心,约翰·索普本人就很叫人讨厌。



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