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 13
选择底色: 选择字号:【大】【中】【小】
Chapter 13

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday have now passed in review before the reader; the events of each day, its hopes and fears, mortifications and pleasures, have been separately stated, and the pangs of Sunday only now remain to be described, and close the week. The Clifton scheme had been deferred, not relinquished, and on the afternoon's crescent of this day, it was brought forward again. In a private consultation between Isabella and James, the former of whom had particularly set her heart upon going, and the latter no less anxiously placed his upon pleasing her, it was agreed that, provided the weather were fair, the party should take place on the following morning; and they were to set off very early, in order to be at home in good time. The affair thus determined, and Thorpe's approbation secured, Catherine only remained to be apprised of it. She had left them for a few minutes to speak to Miss Tilney. In that interval the plan was completed, and as soon as she came again, her agreement was demanded; but instead of the gay acquiescence expected by Isabella, Catherine looked grave, was very sorry, but could not go. The engagement which ought to have kept her from joining in the former attempt would make it impossible for her to accompany them now. She had that moment settled with Miss Tilney to take their proposed walk tomorrow; it was quite determined, and she would not, upon any account, retract. But that she must and should retract was instantly the eager cry of both the Thorpes; they must go to Clifton tomorrow, they would not go without her, it would be nothing to put off a mere walk for one day longer, and they would not hear of a refusal. Catherine was distressed, but not subdued. "Do not urge me, Isabella. I am engaged to Miss Tilney. I cannot go." This availed nothing. The same arguments assailed her again; she must go, she should go, and they would not hear of a refusal. "It would be so easy to tell Miss Tilney that you had just been reminded of a prior engagement, and must only beg to put off the walk till Tuesday."

"No, it would not be easy. I could not do it. There has been no prior engagement." But Isabella became only more and more urgent, calling on her in the most affectionate manner, addressing her by the most endearing names. She was sure her dearest, sweetest Catherine would not seriously refuse such a trifling request to a friend who loved her so dearly. She knew her beloved Catherine to have so feeling a heart, so sweet a temper, to be so easily persuaded by those she loved. But all in vain; Catherine felt herself to be in the right, and though pained by such tender, such flattering supplication, could not allow it to influence her. Isabella then tried another method. She reproached her with having more affection for Miss Tilney, though she had known her so little a while, than for her best and oldest friends, with being grown cold and indifferent, in short, towards herself. "I cannot help being jealous, Catherine, when I see myself slighted for strangers, I, who love you so excessively! When once my affections are placed, it is not in the power of anything to change them. But I believe my feelings are stronger than anybody's; I am sure they are too strong for my own peace; and to see myself supplanted in your friendship by strangers does cut me to the quick, I own. These Tilneys seem to swallow up everything else."

Catherine thought this reproach equally strange and unkind. Was it the part of a friend thus to expose her feelings to the notice of others? Isabella appeared to her ungenerous and selfish, regardless of everything but her own gratification. These painful ideas crossed her mind, though she said nothing. Isabella, in the meanwhile, had applied her handkerchief to her eyes; and Morland, miserable at such a sight, could not help saying, "Nay, Catherine. I think you cannot stand out any longer now. The sacrifice is not much; and to oblige such a friend -- I shall think you quite unkind, if you still refuse."

This was the first time of her brother's openly siding against her, and anxious to avoid his displeasure, she proposed a compromise. If they would only put off their scheme till Tuesday, which they might easily do, as it depended only on themselves, she could go with them, and everybody might then be satisfied. But "No, no, no!" was the immediate answer; "that could not be, for Thorpe did not know that he might not go to town on Tuesday." Catherine was sorry, but could do no more; and a short silence ensued, which was broken by Isabella, who in a voice of cold resentment said, "Very well, then there is an end of the party. If Catherine does not go, I cannot. I cannot be the only woman. I would not, upon any account in the world, do so improper a thing."

"Catherine, you must go," said James.

"But why cannot Mr. Thorpe drive one of his other sisters? I dare say either of them would like to go."

"Thank ye," cried Thorpe, "but I did not come to Bath to drive my sisters about, and look like a fool. No, if you do not go, d -- me if I do. I only go for the sake of driving you."

"That is a compliment which gives me no pleasure." But her words were lost on Thorpe, who had turned abruptly away.

The three others still continued together, walking in a most uncomfortable manner to poor Catherine; sometimes not a word was said, sometimes she was again attacked with supplications or reproaches, and her arm was still linked within Isabella's, though their hearts were at war. At one moment she was softened, at another irritated; always distressed, but always steady.

"I did not think you had been so obstinate, Catherine," said James; "you were not used to be so hard to persuade; you once were the kindest, best-tempered of my sisters."

"I hope I am not less so now," she replied, very feelingly; "but indeed I cannot go. If I am wrong, I am doing what I believe to be right."

"I suspect," said Isabella, in a low voice, "there is no great struggle."

Catherine's heart swelled; she drew away her arm, and Isabella made no opposition. Thus passed a long ten minutes, till they were again joined by Thorpe, who, coming to them with a gayer look, said, "Well, I have settled the matter, and now we may all go tomorrow with a safe conscience. I have been to Miss Tilney, and made your excuses."

"You have not!" cried Catherine.

"I have, upon my soul. Left her this moment. Told her you had sent me to say that, having just recollected a prior engagement of going to Clifton with us tomorrow, you could not have the pleasure of walking with her till Tuesday. She said very well, Tuesday was just as convenient to her; so there is an end of all our difficulties. A pretty good thought of mine -- hey?"

Isabella's countenance was once more all smiles and good humour, and James too looked happy again.

"A most heavenly thought indeed! Now, my sweet Catherine, all our distresses are over; you are honourably acquitted, and we shall have a most delightful party."

"This will not do," said Catherine; "I cannot submit to this. I must run after Miss Tilney directly and set her right."

Isabella, however, caught hold of one hand, Thorpe of the other, and remonstrances poured in from all three. Even James was quite angry. When everything was settled, when Miss Tilney herself said that Tuesday would suit her as well, it was quite ridiculous, quite absurd, to make any further objection.

"I do not care. Mr. Thorpe had no business to invent any such message. If I had thought it right to put it off, I could have spoken to Miss Tilney myself. This is only doing it in a ruder way; and how do I know that Mr. Thorpe has -- He may be mistaken again perhaps; he led me into one act of rudeness by his mistake on Friday. Let me go, Mr. Thorpe; Isabella, do not hold me."

Thorpe told her it would be in vain to go after the Tilneys; they were turning the corner into Brock Street, when he had overtaken them, and were at home by this time.

"Then I will go after them," said Catherine; "wherever they are I will go after them. It does not signify talking. If I could not be persuaded into doing what I thought wrong, I never will be tricked into it." And with these words she broke away and hurried off. Thorpe would have darted after her, but Morland withheld him. "Let her go, let her go, if she will go. She is as obstinate as -- "

Thorpe never finished the simile, for it could hardly have been a proper one.

Away walked Catherine in great agitation, as fast as the crowd would permit her, fearful of being pursued, yet determined to persevere. As she walked, she reflected on what had passed. It was painful to her to disappoint and displease them, particularly to displease her brother; but she could not repent her resistance. Setting her own inclination apart, to have failed a second time in her engagement to Miss Tilney, to have retracted a promise voluntarily made only five minutes before, and on a false pretence too, must have been wrong. She had not been withstanding them on selfish principles alone, she had not consulted merely her own gratification; that might have been ensured in some degree by the excursion itself, by seeing Blaize Castle; no, she had attended to what was due to others, and to her own character in their opinion. Her conviction of being right, however, was not enough to restore her composure; till she had spoken to Miss Tilney she could not be at ease; and quickening her pace when she got clear of the Crescent, she almost ran over the remaining ground till she gained the top of Milsom Street. So rapid had been her movements that in spite of the Tilneys' advantage in the outset, they were but just turning into their lodgings as she came within view of them; and the servant still remaining at the open door, she used only the ceremony of saying that she must speak with Miss Tilney that moment, and hurrying by him proceeded upstairs. Then, opening the first door before her, which happened to be the right, she immediately found herself in the drawing-room with General Tilney, his son, and daughter. Her explanation, defective only in being -- from her irritation of nerves and shortness of breath -- no explanation at all, was instantly given. "I am come in a great hurry -- It was all a mistake -- I never promised to go -- I told them from the first I could not go. -- I ran away in a great hurry to explain it. -- I did not care what you thought of me. -- I would not stay for the servant."

The business, however, though not perfectly elucidated by this speech, soon ceased to be a puzzle. Catherine found that John Thorpe had given the message; and Miss Tilney had no scruple in owning herself greatly surprised by it. But whether her brother had still exceeded her in resentment, Catherine, though she instinctively addressed herself as much to one as to the other in her vindication, had no means of knowing. Whatever might have been felt before her arrival, her eager declarations immediately made every look and sentence as friendly as she could desire.

The affair thus happily settled, she was introduced by Miss Tilney to her father, and received by him with such ready, such solicitous politeness as recalled Thorpe's information to her mind, and made her think with pleasure that he might be sometimes depended on. To such anxious attention was the general's civility carried, that not aware of her extraordinary swiftness in entering the house, he was quite angry with the servant whose neglect had reduced her to open the door of the apartment herself. "What did William mean by it? He should make a point of inquiring into the matter." And if Catherine had not most warmly asserted his innocence, it seemed likely that William would lose the favour of his master forever, if not his place, by her rapidity.

After sitting with them a quarter of an hour, she rose to take leave, and was then most agreeably surprised by General Tilney's asking her if she would do his daughter the honour of dining and spending the rest of the day with her. Miss Tilney added her own wishes. Catherine was greatly obliged; but it was quite out of her power. Mr. and Mrs. Allen would expect her back every moment. The general declared he could say no more; the claims of Mr. and Mrs. Allen were not to be superseded; but on some other day he trusted, when longer notice could be given, they would not refuse to spare her to her friend. "Oh, no; Catherine was sure they would not have the least objection, and she should have great pleasure in coming." The general attended her himself to the street-door, saying everything gallant as they went downstairs, admiring the elasticity of her walk, which corresponded exactly with the spirit of her dancing, and making her one of the most graceful bows she had ever beheld, when they parted.

Catherine, delighted by all that had passed, proceeded gaily to Pulteney Street, walking, as she concluded, with great elasticity, though she had never thought of it before. She reached home without seeing anything more of the offended party; and now that she had been triumphant throughout, had carried her point, and was secure of her walk, she began (as the flutter of her spirits subsided) to doubt whether she had been perfectly right. A sacrifice was always noble; and if she had given way to their entreaties, she should have been spared the distressing idea of a friend displeased, a brother angry, and a scheme of great happiness to both destroyed, perhaps through her means. To ease her mind, and ascertain by the opinion of an unprejudiced person what her own conduct had really been, she took occasion to mention before Mr. Allen the half-settled scheme of her brother and the Thorpes for the following day. Mr. Allen caught at it directly. "Well," said he, "and do you think of going too?"

"No; I had just engaged myself to walk with Miss Tilney before they told me of it; and therefore you know I could not go with them, could I?"

"No, certainly not; and I am glad you do not think of it. These schemes are not at all the thing. Young men and women driving about the country in open carriages! Now and then it is very well; but going to inns and public places together! It is not right; and I wonder Mrs. Thorpe should allow it. I am glad you do not think of going; I am sure Mrs. Morland would not be pleased. Mrs. Allen, are not you of my way of thinking? Do not you think these kind of projects objectionable?"

"Yes, very much so indeed. Open carriages are nasty things. A clean gown is not five minutes' wear in them. You are splashed getting in and getting out; and the wind takes your hair and your bonnet in every direction. I hate an open carriage myself."

"I know you do; but that is not the question. Do not you think it has an odd appearance, if young ladies are frequently driven about in them by young men, to whom they are not even related?"

"Yes, my dear, a very odd appearance indeed. I cannot bear to see it."

"Dear madam," cried Catherine, "then why did not you tell me so before? I am sure if I had known it to be improper, I would not have gone with Mr. Thorpe at all; but I always hoped you would tell me, if you thought I was doing wrong."

"And so I should, my dear, you may depend on it; for as I told Mrs. Morland at parting, I would always do the best for you in my power. But one must not be over particular. Young people will be young people, as your good mother says herself. You know I wanted you, when we first came, not to buy that sprigged muslin, but you would. Young people do not like to be always thwarted."

"But this was something of real consequence; and I do not think you would have found me hard to persuade."

"As far as it has gone hitherto, there is no harm done," said Mr. Allen; "and I would only advise you, my dear, not to go out with Mr. Thorpe any more."

"That is just what I was going to say," added his wife.

Catherine, relieved for herself, felt uneasy for Isabella, and after a moment's thought, asked Mr. Allen whether it would not be both proper and kind in her to write to Miss Thorpe, and explain the indecorum of which she must be as insensible as herself; for she considered that Isabella might otherwise perhaps be going to Clifton the next day, in spite of what had passed. Mr. Allen, however, discouraged her from doing any such thing. "You had better leave her alone, my dear; she is old enough to know what she is about, and if not, has a mother to advise her. Mrs. Thorpe is too indulgent beyond a doubt; but, however, you had better not interfere. She and your brother choose to go, and you will be only getting ill will."

Catherine submitted, and though sorry to think that Isabella should be doing wrong, felt greatly relieved by Mr. Allen's approbation of her own conduct, and truly rejoiced to be preserved by his advice from the danger of falling into such an error herself. Her escape from being one of the party to Clifton was now an escape indeed; for what would the Tilneys have thought of her, if she had broken her promise to them in order to do what was wrong in itself, if she had been guilty of one breach of propriety, only to enable her to be guilty of another?

星期一到星期六这几天,读者已经眼看着过去了。每天的情况,每天的希望与忧虑、屈辱与快乐,都分别作了说明,现在只需描述一下星期日的痛苦,使这一周告以结束。去克利夫顿的计划缓期了,但是并未取消。今天下午去新月街散步时,此事又被提了出来。伊莎贝拉和詹姆斯进行了私下磋商,伊莎贝拉是打定主意要去的,詹姆斯则一心要讨好她。两人说定;若是天公作美,他们明天上午就去;为了按时回到家里,要一大早就动身。事情谈妥了,也得到了索普的赞同,剩下的只消通知一声凯瑟琳。凯瑟琳去找蒂尔尼小姐说话,离开了他们几分钟。在此期间,他们全都计划好了,她一回来,立刻要他答应一起去。但是出乎伊莎贝拉的意料之外,凯瑟琳没有愉愉快快地表示赞同,而是板着副面孔。说她十分抱歉不能去。她有约在先,上次就不该去,这次更不能奉陪了。她刚才与蒂尔尼小姐谈妥,明天进行那次约定的散步。这已经完全说定了,她无论如何不能反悔。但是,索普兄妹当即焦急地吆喊说:她必须而且应该取消那个约会。他们明天一定要去克利夫顿,而且不能落下她。只不过是一次散步吗,推迟一天有什么关系,他们不许她拒绝。凯瑟琳感到为难,但是并没屈从。“你别逼我碰,伊莎贝拉。我同蒂尔尼小姐的约了。我不能去。”可这无济于事。同样的论点劈头盖脑地向她袭来:她必须去,她应该去,他们不许她拒绝。“这容易得很,你就对蒂尔尼小姐说你刚想起先前的一次约会,只要求把散步推延到星期二。”

“不,这并不容易。我不能那样做。我先前没有约会。”可是伊莎贝拉越逼越紧。她百般亲切地恳求她,心肝宝贝地叫着她。她相信,为了这么一个小小的请求,她那最亲爱的凯瑟琳决不会当真拒绝一个如此疼爱她的朋友。她知道,她心爱的凯瑟琳心地善良,性情温柔,很容易被她心爱的人说服。谁想怎么说都不起作用。凯瑟琳觉得自己理直气壮,虽然不忍心听到如此情恳意切,苦口婆心的恳求,但是丝毫也不动摇。这时,伊莎贝拉改换了方式。她责怪说,凯瑟琳只不过刚刚认识蒂尔尼小姐,可待她比待最要好的老朋友还亲切。总之一句话,责怪她对她本人越来越冷淡了。“凯瑟琳。当我见到你因为外人而怠慢我时,我不能不感到嫉妒。我爱你爱到了极点啊!我一旦爱上了什么人,那是什么力量也无法改变的。我相信,我比什么人都重感情,正因为太重感情,所以心里总是不得安宁。我承认,眼见着外人夺去了你对我的友爱,我感到伤心透了。一切好处都让蒂尔尼兄妹独占了。”

凯瑟琳觉得这番指责既奇怪,又不客气。难道作朋友的就该把自己的感情暴露给别人?在她看来,伊莎贝拉心胸狭窄,自私自利。除了自我满足而外,别的一概不顾。她心里浮起了这些沉痛的念头,但是嘴里什么也没说。这当儿,伊莎贝拉拿手帕擦着眼睛。莫兰见此情景心里一阵难受,禁不住说道:“得了,凯瑟琳,我看你现在不能再执拗了。牺牲也不很大,为了成全这样一位朋友。我想你如果还要推却的话.那就太不客气了。”

哥哥公开与她作对,这还是头一遭。唯恐引起哥哥的不快,凯瑟琳建议来个折中。只要他们肯把计划推迟星期二(这对他们并不困难、因为这只取决于他们自己),那她就和他们一起去。不想对方立即答道:“不行。不行!那可不行,索普说不定星期二还要进城。”凯瑟琳感到遗憾,她再也无能为力了。接着沉默了一会,随即又被伊莎贝拉打破了,只听她带着冷漠愤懑的口气说道:“好吧,那这次活动告吹了。要是凯瑟琳不去,我也不能去。不能就我一个女的去。这不成体统,,我无论如何也不干。”

“凯瑟琳,你一定得去。”詹姆斯说。

“可是索普先生为什么不能另带一个妹妹去?我敢说她们两个谁都愿意去。”

“谢谢,”索普嚷道:“可是我来巴思不是为了带着妹妹到处兜风的,看上去像个傻瓜。不,你假使不去,我要去就是混蛋。我去只是为了带着你兜兜风。”

“你这番恭维并不使我感到荣幸。”可惜索普没听见她这话,便忽地转身走了。

那另外三个人继续一起走着,说起话来使可怜的凯瑟琳感到极其别扭。他们有时一言不发,有时又一连迭声地祈求她,责备她。虽然心里不和,她还挽着伊莎贝拉的手臂。她一会儿心软下来,一会儿又被激怒。但她总是很烦恼,总是很坚定。

“我以前不知道你有这么固执,凯瑟琳,”詹姆斯说道。“你以前总是很好说话。我几个妹妹里头,原来就数你最和善,脾气最好。”

“我希望我现在也是如此。”凯瑟琳很动情地答道,“可我实在不能去。即使我错了,我也是在做我认为正确的事情。”

“我想,”伊莎贝拉低声说,“这样做倒不费踌躇呀。”

凯瑟琳心里气急了,一下子把胳膊抽走了,伊莎贝拉也没反抗。如此过了十多分钟,索普终于又回来了,他带着较为快活的神气说道:“唔,我把问题解决了。我们明天可以心安理得地一起去了。我去找过蒂尔尼小姐,替你推托了。”

“你没去!”凯瑟琳嚷道。

“我发誓去过了。我刚从她那儿来。我跟她说是你叫我来的。说你刚刚想起早已约好明天和我们一道去克利夫顿,因此要到星期二才能与她一道去散步。她说也好,星期二对她同样很方便。因此我们的困难全部迎刃而解。我这主意不错吧?”

伊莎贝拉又一次喜笑颜开了,詹姆斯也跟着高兴起来。

“你这主意的确妙极了!唔,亲爱的凯瑟琳,一切困难全解决了,你已经正大光明地解约了,我们可以痛痛快快地玩一番了。”

“这可不行,”凯瑟琳说。“我不能答应这样做。我得马上追上蒂尔尼小姐,把真情告诉她。”

不想伊莎贝拉抓住她一只手,索普抓住另一只,三人苦苦相劝。就连詹姆斯也很生气。既然事情都解决了,蒂尔尼小姐自己还说星期二同样适合她,再去节外生枝,岂不荒谬至极。

“我不管。索普先生没有权利捏造这种谎言。假使我觉得应该推迟的话,我可以亲自对蒂尔尼小姐去说。索普先生那样做只会显得更冒昧。我怎么知道他已经……也许他又搞错了。他星期五的错误导致我采取一次冒昧的行动。放开我,索鲁先生,别抓住我,伊莎贝拉。”

索普告诉她,蒂尔尼兄妹是追不上的,刚才他赶上去的时候他们已经拐进布鲁克街,现在也该到家了。

“那我也要去追,”凯瑟琳说道。“他们无论走到哪里,我也要追上去。说也没用。我认为错误的事清,别人要是无法说服我去干,也休想骗我去干。”说罢,她挣脱身子,匆匆离去了。索普本想冲下去追她,不料让詹姆斯止住了。“让她去吧。她想去就让她去吧。她固执得像……”

莫兰没有说完他的比喻,因为这实在不是个很文雅的比喻。

凯瑟琳心里非常激动,穿过人群尽量快走,唯恐有人追来,不过她决心坚持到底。她一边走,一边思忖刚才的情景。她不忍心让他们失望,惹他们生气,特别是不忍心惹她哥哥生气,但她并不后悔自己拒绝了他们。撇开个人的喜好且不说,仅凭和蒂尔尼小姐再次失约,取消五分钟前才自愿许下的诺言,而且还捏造借口。这一定是大错特错了。她拒绝他们并非仅仅出自个人考虑,不仅仅是为了满足个人的愿望,因为跟他们去旅行,看看布莱兹城堡,在某种程度上倒可以满足这个愿望。不,她考虑的是别人,是别人对她人格的看法。她相信自己没有过错,可这还不足以使她恢复镇静。不向蒂尔尼小姐说清楚,她心里不会感到踏实。她出了新月街以后便加快了脚步,剩下的路几乎是一溜小跑,直至到达米尔萨姆街尽头。她动作如此之快,尽管蒂尔尼兄妹一开始领先很多,可是当她看见他们时,他们才刚刚进屋。仆人仍然站在门口,门还开着。凯瑟琳只是客气地说了声她马上要同蒂尔尼小姐说话,便匆匆打他旁边走过,跑上搂去。接着,顺手推开第一扇门,恰巧让她碰到了,即刻发现自己来到了客厅,蒂尔尼将军和他的儿子女儿都在里面。她立即作了解释,不过,由于心情紧张和呼吸短促的缘故,其唯一的缺陷是压根儿不像作解释。“我急火火地跑来了——这完全是个误会。我从没答应跟他们去。我从一开始就告诉他们我不能去。我急火火地跑来解释。我不在乎你们怎么看我,我实在等不及让仆人通报。”

这番话虽然没有把事情解释得一清二楚,但是却马上不再令人困惑不解了。凯瑟琳发现,索普的确传了假话,蒂尔尼小姐开诚布公地表示,她当时听了大为震惊。但是她哥哥是否比她更加忿恨不满,凯瑟琳却无从知道,虽然她本能地向两个人作了解释。她到达前不管他们有什么感觉,经她这么诚恳地一分辨,兄妹两个的神色和言语马上变得和蔼极了。

事情愉快地得到了解决,凯瑟琳被蒂尔尼小姐介绍给她父亲,立即受到他的十分殷切而客气的接待。这就使她想起了索普说的话,而且使她高兴地感到,索普有时还是靠得住的。蒂尔尼将军客气到唯恐不周的地步,他不知道凯瑟琳进屋时走得飞快,却大生仆人的气,怪他太怠慢了,竟然让莫兰小姐自己打开客厅的门。“威廉是怎么回事?我—定要追查这件事。”若不是凯瑟琳极力陈说他平白无辜,威廉很可能因为凯瑟琳的快步闯入,而永远失去主人的宠幸,如果不是丢掉饭碗的话。

凯瑟琳坐了一刻钟之后,便起身告辞。使她感到喜出望外的是,蒂尔尼将军问她是否能给他女儿赏个脸,就在这儿吃顿饭,当天余下的时间就同蒂尔尼小姐一起玩玩。蒂尔尼小姐也表示了自己的心愿。凯瑟琳大为感激,可惜她实在无能为力,艾伦夫妇在随时等她回去。将军宣称这叫他没有什么好说的了,

既然艾伦夫妇要她回去,他也就不便强留。不过他相信,改天要是通知得早一些,艾伦夫妇是不会拒绝她到朋友这儿来的。

“哦,不会的。”凯瑟琳担保他们不会反对,她自己也十分愿意来。将军亲自把她送到街门口,下楼时说了许多动听的话,夸赞她步履轻盈,简直和她跳舞时的姿态分毫不差。临别时,他又向她鞠了一躬,那个优雅自如的劲儿,她以前从未见到过。

凯瑟琳对于这一切大为得意,兴高采烈地朝普尔蒂尼街走去。她断定她的脚步是很轻盈的,尽管她以前从未意识到。她回到家里,没有再见到被她触犯的那伙人。她已经大获全胜,达到了自己的目的,散步也有了把握,随着心绪的平静,便开始怀疑自己是否百分之百正确。屈己待人总是崇高的,假若她答应了他们的要求,她就不会令人苦恼地觉得自己得罪了一位朋友,惹火了一位哥哥,一项使他们高兴非凡的远游计划,也许是让她给破坏了。为了宽慰自己,让一个公正人来权衡一下自己的行为究竟对不对,她趁机向艾伦先生提起了她哥哥和索普兄妹第二天准备远游这个说定没定的计划,艾伦先生当即抓住了话头。“怎么,”他说,“你也想去吗?”

“不。就在他们告诉我之前,我和蒂尔尼小姐约好了要去散步。因此,你知道,我是不能跟他们一起去的,对吗?”

“对,当然不能去。你不想去,这很好。这种安排实在不像话。年轻小伙子和年轻姑娘坐着敞篷马车在乡下到处乱跑!偶尔次把倒还满不错的。可是一道去客栈和公共场所,那就不妥当了,我不知道索普太太怎么会允许的。我很高兴你不想去。我敢肯定,莫兰太太会不高兴的。艾伦太太,难道你不这样想?难道你不认为这种做法要不得吗?”

“是的,的确要不得。敞篷马车真龌龊。你坐在里面,一件干净衣服连五分钟也穿不上。你上车下车都要溅一身泥。风把你的头发帽子吹得东倒西歪,我就讨厌敞篷马车。”

“我知道你讨厌。可是问题不在这里。要是年轻姑娘与年轻小伙子非亲非故的,却时常坐着敞篷马车东跑西颠的,难道你不觉得很不雅观吗?”

“是的,亲爱的,的确很不雅观。我看不下去。”

“亲爱的太太,”凯瑟琳嚷道,“那你为什么不早告诉我?你要是早就告诉我这不合适,我绝对不会跟着索普先生一道出去的。不过我总是希望,你若是认为我有什么过错,会给我指出来的。”

“我会的,好孩子,你尽管放心好啦。正像分手时我对莫兰太太所说的,我随时都会竭尽全力帮助你的。但是人不能过于苛求。就像你慈爱的母亲常说的,年轻人毕竟是年轻人。你知道,我们才来时我不让你买那件有枝叶花纹的纱衣服,可你偏要买。年轻人不喜欢老有别人碍他们的事。”

“可这是件至关紧要的事情,我想你不会觉得我很难说服吧。”

“迄今为止,还没出现什么问题,”艾伦先生说。“我只想奉劝你,好孩子,别再同索普先生一道出去了。”

“我也正要这么说呢。”他妻子补充道。

凯瑟琳自己感到宽慰了,但是却为伊莎贝拉感到不安。她稍微想了一下,然后便问艾伦先生:索普小姐一定像她自己一样,也不知道那是越轨行为,她是不是应该给她写封信,告诉她那样做是不恰当的,因为据她考虑,尽管遇到了波折,伊莎贝拉要是无人奉劝,说不定第二天还是要去克利夫顿的。谁想艾伦先生劝她不要干这种事。“好孩子,你最好不要去管她。她那么大了,该懂事了。如若不然,她母亲会替她指点的。索普太太实在太溺爱子女了。不过你最好还是不要干预。索普小姐与你哥哥执意要去,你只会讨个没趣。”

凯瑟琳听从了他的话。虽然一想到伊莎贝拉的过错不免有些惋惜,但是艾伦先生对她自己的行为的赞许,却使她感到大为宽慰。承蒙他的劝导,她才没有犯同样的错误,这确实使她感到庆幸。她没有跟着他们去克利夫顿,实在是一次幸免。假如她同蒂尔尼兄妹爽约是为了去做一件错事——假使她做下一件失礼的事,只是为了去做另外一件越轨的事,那么蒂尔尼一家会把她看成什么人?



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