小说搜索     点击排行榜   最新入库
首页 » 双语小说 » 惊婚记 Quentin Durward » Chapter 24 The Surrender
选择底色: 选择字号:【大】【中】【小】
Chapter 24 The Surrender

Rescue or none, Sir Knight, I am your captive: Deal with me what your nobleness suggests -- Thinking the chance of war may one day place you Where I must now be reckon'd -- I' the roll Of melancholy prisoners.

ANONYMOUS

The skirmish betwixt the Schwarzreiters and the Burgundian men at arms lasted scarcely five minutes, so soon were the former put to the rout by the superiority of the latter in armour, weight of horse, and military spirit. In less than the space we have mentioned, the Count of Crevecoeur, wiping his bloody sword upon his horse's mane ere he sheathed it, came back to the verge of the forest, where Isabelle had remained a spectator of the combat. One part of his people followed him, while the other continued to pursue the flying enemy for a little space along the causeway.

"It is shame," said the Count, "that the weapons of knights and gentlemen should be soiled by the blood of those brutal swine."

So saying, he returned his weapon to the sheath and added, "This is a rough welcome to your home, my pretty cousin, but wandering princesses must expect such adventures. And well I came up in time, for, let me assure you, the Black Troopers respect a countess's coronet as little as a country wench's coif, and I think your retinue is not qualified for much resistance."

"My Lord Count," said the Lady Isabelle, "without farther preface, let me know if I am a prisoner, and where you are to conduct me."

"You know, you silly child," answered the Count, "how I would answer that question, did it rest on my own will. But you, and your foolish match making, marriage hunting aunt, have made such wild use of your wings of late, that I fear you must be contented to fold them up in a cage for a little while. For my part, my duty, and it is a sad one, will be ended when I have conducted you to the Court of the Duke, at Peronne for which purpose I hold it necessary to deliver the command of this reconnoitring party to my nephew, Count Stephen, while I return with you thither, as I think you may need an intercessor. -- And I hope the young giddy pate will discharge his duty wisely."

"So please you, fair uncle," said Count Stephen, "if you doubt my capacity to conduct the men at arms, even remain with them yourself, and I will be the servant and guard of the Countess Isabelle of Croye."

"No doubt, fair nephew," answered his uncle, "this were a goodly improvement on my scheme, but methinks I like it as well in the way I planned it. Please you, therefore, to take notice, that your business here is not to hunt after and stick these black hogs, for which you seemed but now to have felt an especial vocation, but to collect and bring to me true tidings of what is going forward in the country of Liege, concerning which we hear such wild rumours. Let some half score of lances follow me and the rest remain with my banner under your guidance."

"Yet one moment, cousin of Crevecoeur," said the Countess Isabelle, "and let me, in yielding myself prisoner, stipulate at least for the safety of those who have befriended me in my misfortunes. Permit this good fellow, my trusty guide, to go back unharmed to his native town of Liege."

"My nephew," said Crevecoeur, after looking sharply at Glover's honest breadth of countenance, "shall guard this good fellow, who seems, indeed, to have little harm in him, as far into the territory as he himself advances, and then leave him at liberty."

"Fail not to remember me to the kind Gertrude," said the Countess to her guide, and added, taking a string of pearls from under her veil, "Pray her to wear this in remembrance of her unhappy friend."

Honest Glover took the string of pearls, and kissed with clownish gesture, but with sincere kindness, the fair hand which had found such a delicate mode of remunerating his own labours and peril.

"Umph! signs and tokens," said the Count, "any farther bequests to make, my fair cousin? -- It is time we were on our way."

"Only," said the Countess, making an effort to speak, "that you will be pleased to be favourable to this -- this young gentleman."

"Umph!" said Crevecoeur, casting the same penetrating glance on Quentin which he had bestowed on Glover, but apparently with a much less satisfactory result, and mimicking, though not offensively, the embarrassment of the Countess.

"Umph! -- Ay -- this is a blade of another temper. -- And pray, my cousin, what has this -- this very young gentleman done, to deserve such intercession at your hands?"

"He has saved my life and honour," said the Countess, reddening with shame and resentment.

Quentin also blushed with indignation, but wisely concluded that to give vent to it might only make matters worse.

"Life and honour? -- Umph!" said again the Count Crevecoeur, "methinks it would have been as well, my cousin, if you had not put yourself in the way of lying under such obligations to this very young gentleman. -- But let it pass. The young gentleman may wait on us, if his quality permit, and I will see he has no injury -- only I will myself take in future the office of protecting your life and honour, and may perhaps find for him some fitter duty than that of being a squire of the body to damosels errant."

"My Lord Count," said Durward, unable to keep silence any longer, "lest you should talk of a stranger in slighter terms than you might afterwards think becoming, I take leave to tell you, that I am Quentin Durward, an Archer of the Scottish Bodyguard, in which, as you well know, none but gentlemen and men of honour are enrolled."

"I thank you for your information, and I kiss your hands, Seignior Archer," said Crevecoeur, in the same tone of raillery. "Have the goodness to ride with me to the front of the party."

As Quentin moved onward at the command of the Count, who had now the power, if not the right, to dictate his motions, he observed that the Lady Isabelle followed his motions with a look of anxious and timid interest, which amounted almost to tenderness, and the sight of which brought water into his eyes. But he remembered that he had a man's part to sustain before Crevecoeur, who, perhaps of all the chivalry in France or Burgundy, was the least likely to be moved to anything but laughter by a tale of true love sorrow. He determined, therefore, not to wait his addressing him, but to open the conversation in a tone which should assert his claim to fair treatment, and to more respect than the Count, offended perhaps at finding a person of such inferior note placed so near the confidence of his high born and wealthy cousin, seemed disposed to entertain for him.

"My Lord Count of Crevecoeur," he said, in a temperate but firm tone of voice, "may I request of you, before our interview goes farther, to tell me if I am at liberty, or am to account myself your prisoner?"

"A shrewd question," replied the Count, "which at present I can only answer by another. -- Are France and Burgundy, think you, at peace or war with each other?"

"That," replied the Scot, "you, my lord, should certainly know better than I. I have been absent from the Court of France, and have heard no news for some time."

"Look you there," said the Count, "you see how easy it is to ask questions, but how difficult to answer them. Why, I myself, who have been at Peronne with the Duke for this week and better, cannot resolve this riddle any more than you, and yet, Sir Squire, upon the solution of that question depends the said point, whether you are prisoner or free man, and, for the present, I must hold you as the former. -- Only, if you have really and honestly been of service to my kinswoman, and for you are candid in your answers to the questions I shall ask, affairs shall stand the better with you."

"The Countess of Croye," said Quentin, "is best judge if I have rendered any service, and to her I refer you on that matter. My answers you will yourself judge of when you ask me your questions."

"Umph! -- haughty enough," muttered the Count of Crevecoeur, "and very like one that wears a lady's favour in his hat, and thinks he must carry things with a high tone, to honour the precious remnant of silk and tinsel. Well, sir, I trust it will be no abatement of your dignity, if you answer me, how long you have been about the person of the Lady Isabelle of Croye?"

"Count of Crevecoeur," said Quentin Durward, "if I answer questions which are asked in a tone approaching towards insult, it is only lest injurious inferences should be drawn from my silence respecting one to whom we are both obliged to render justice. I have acted as escort to the Lady Isabelle since she left France to retire into Flanders."

"Ho! ho!" said the Count, "and that is to say, since she fled from Plessis les Tours? -- You, an Archer of the Scottish Guard, accompanied her, of course, by the express orders of King Louis?"

However little Quentin thought himself indebted to the King of France, who, in contriving the surprisal of the Countess Isabelle by William de la Marck, had probably calculated on the young Scotchman's being slain in her defence, he did not yet conceive himself at liberty to betray any trust which Louis had reposed, or had seemed to repose, in him, and therefore replied to Count Crevecoeur's inference that it was sufficient for him to have the authority of his superior officer for what he had done, and he inquired no farther.

"It is quite sufficient," said the Count. "We know the King does not permit his officers to send the Archers of his Guard to prance like paladins by the bridle rein of wandering ladies, unless he hath some politic purpose to serve. It will be difficult for King Louis to continue to aver so boldly that he knew' not of the Ladies of Croye's having escaped from France, since they were escorted by one of his own Life guard. -- And whither, Sir Archer, was your retreat directed?"

"To Liege, my lord," answered the Scot, "where the ladies desired to be placed under the protection of the late Bishop."

"The late Bishop!" exclaimed the Count of Crevecoeur, "is Louis of Bourbon dead? -- Not a word of his illness had reached the Duke. -- Of what did he die?"

"He sleeps in a bloody grave, my lord -- that is, if his murderers have conferred one on his remains."

"Murdered!" exclaimed Crevecoeur again. -- "Holy Mother of Heaven! -- young man, it is impossible!"

"I saw the deed done with my own eyes, and many an act of horror besides."

"Saw it! and made not in to help the good Prelate!" exclaimed the Count, "or to raise the castle against his murderers? -- Know'st thou not that even to look on such a deed, without resisting it, is profane sacrilege?"

"To be brief, my lord," said Durward, "ere this act was done, the castle was stormed by the bloodthirsty William de la Marck, with help of the insurgent Liegeois."

"I am struck with thunder," said Crevecoeur. "Liege in insurrection! -- Schonwaldt taken! -- the Bishop murdered -- Messenger of sorrow, never did one man unfold such a packet of woes! -- Speak -- knew you of this assault -- of this insurrection -- of this murder? -- Speak -- thou art one of Louis's trusted Archers, and it is he that has aimed this painful arrow. -- Speak, or I will have thee torn with wild horses!"

"And if I am so torn, my lord, there can be nothing rent out of me, that may not become a true Scottish gentleman: I know no more of these villainies than you -- was so far from being partaker in them, that I would have withstood them to the uttermost, had my means in a twentieth degree equalled my inclination. But what could I do? -- they were hundreds, and I but one. My only care was to rescue the Countess Isabelle, and in that I was happily successful. Yet, had I been near enough when the ruffian deed was so cruelly done on the old man, I had saved his gray hairs, or I had avenged them, and as it was, my abhorrence was spoken loud enough to prevent other horrors."

"I believe thee, youth," said the Count, "thou art neither of an age nor nature to be trusted with such bloody work, however well fitted to be the squire of dames. But alas! for the kind and generous Prelate, to be murdered on the hearth where he so often entertained the stranger with Christian charity and princely bounty -- and that by a wretch, a monster! a portentous growth of blood and cruelty! -- bred up in the very hall where he has imbrued his hands in his benefactor's blood! But I know not Charles of Burgundy -- nay, I should doubt of the justice of Heaven, if vengeance be not as sharp, and sudden, and severe, as this villainy has been unexampled in atrocity. And, if no other shall pursue the murderer" -- here he paused, grasped his sword, then quitting his bridle, struck both gauntleted hands upon his breast, until his corselet clattered, and finally held them up to heaven, as he solemnly continued, -- "I -- I, Philip Crevecoeur of Cordes, make a vow to God, Saint Lambert, and the Three Kings of Cologne, that small shall be my thought of other earthly concerns, till I take full revenge on the murderers of the good Louis of Bourbon, whether I find them in forest or field, in city or in country, in hill or in plain, in King's Court or in God's Church! and thereto I pledge hands and living, friends and followers, life and honour. So help me God, and Saint Lambert of Liege, and the Three Kings of Cologne!"

When the Count of Crevecoeur had made his vow, his mind seemed in some sort relieved from the overwhelming grief and astonishment with which he had heard the fatal tragedy that had been acted at Schonwaldt, and he proceeded to question Durward more minutely concerning the particulars of that disastrous affair, which the Scot, nowise desirous to abate the spirit of revenge which the Count entertained against William de la Marck, gave him at full length.

"But those blind, unsteady, faithless, fickle beasts, the Liegeois," said the Count, "that they should have combined themselves with this inexorable robber and murderer, to put to death their lawful Prince!"

Durward here informed the enraged Burgundian that the Liegeois, or at least the better class of them, however rashly they had run into the rebellion against their Bishop, had no design, so far as appeared to him, to aid in the execrable deed of De la Marck but, on the contrary, would have prevented it if they had had the means, and were struck with horror when they beheld it.

"Speak not of the faithless, inconstant plebeian rabble!" said Crevecoeur. "When they took arms against a Prince who had no fault, save that he was too kind and too good a master for such a set of ungrateful slaves -- when they armed against him, and broke into his peaceful house, what could there be in their intention but murder? -- when they banded themselves with the Wild Boar of Ardennes, the greatest homicide in the marches of Flanders, what else could there be in their purpose but murder, which is the very trade he lives by? And again, was it not one of their own vile rabble who did the very deed, by thine own account? I hope to see their canals running blood by the flight of their burning houses. Oh, the kind, noble, generous lord, whom they have slaughtered! -- Other vassals have rebelled under the pressure of imposts and penury but the men of Liege in the fullness of insolence and plenty."

He again abandoned the reins of his war horse, and wrung bitterly the hands, which his mail gloves rendered untractable. Quentin easily saw that the grief which he manifested was augmented by the bitter recollection of past intercourse and friendship with the sufferer, and was silent accordingly, respecting feelings which he was unwilling to aggravate, and at the same time felt it impossible to soothe. But the Count of Crevecoeur returned again and again to the subject -- questioned him on every particular of the surprise of Schonwaldt, and the death of the Bishop, and then suddenly, as if he had recollected something which had escaped his memory, demanded what had become of the Lady Hameline, and why she was not with her kinswoman?

"Not," he added contemptuously, "that I consider her absence as at all a loss to the Countess Isabelle, for, although she was her kinswoman, and upon the whole a well meaning woman, yet the Court of Cocagne never produced such a fantastic fool, and I hold it for certain that her niece, whom I have always observed to be a modest and orderly young lady, was led into the absurd frolic of flying from Burgundy to France, by that blundering, romantic old match making and match seeking idiot!"

(Court of Cocagne: a fabled land intended to ridicule the stories of Avalon, the apple green island, the home of King Arthur. "Its houses were built of good things to eat: roast geese went slowly down the street, turning themselves, and inviting the passersby to eat them; buttered larks fell in profusion; the shingles of the houses were of cake." Cent. Dict. Cocagne has also been called Lubberland.)

What a speech for a romantic lover to hear! and to hear, too, when it would have been ridiculous in him to attempt what it was impossible for him to achieve -- namely, to convince the Count, by force of arms, that he did foul wrong to the Countess -- the peerless in sense as in beauty -- in terming her a modest and orderly young woman, qualities which might have been predicated with propriety of the daughter of a sunburnt peasant, who lived by goading the oxen, while her father held the plough. And then, to suppose her under the domination and supreme guidance of a silly and romantic aunt! -- The slander should have been repelled down the slanderer's throat. But the open, though severe, physiognomy of the Count of Crevecoeur, the total contempt which he seemed to entertain for those feelings which were uppermost in Quentin's bosom, overawed him, not for fear of the Count's fame in arms, that was a risk which would have increased his desire of making out a challenge -- but in dread of ridicule, the weapon of all others most feared by enthusiasts of every description, and which, from its predominance over such minds, often checks what is absurd, and fully as often smothers that which is noble.

Under the influence of this fear of becoming an object of scorn rather than resentment, Durward, though with some pain, confined his reply to a confused account of the Lady Hameline's having made her escape from Schonwaldt before the attack took place. He could not, indeed, have made his story very distinct, without throwing ridicule on the near relation of Isabelle and perhaps incurring some himself, as having been the object of her preposterous expectations. He added to his embarrassed detail, that he had heard a report, though a vague one, of the Lady Hameline's having again fallen into the hands of William de la Marck.

"I trust in Saint Lambert that he will marry her," said Crevecoeur, "as indeed, he is likely enough to do, for the sake of her moneybags, and equally likely to knock her on the head, so soon as these are either secured in his own grasp, or, at farthest, emptied."

The Count then proceeded to ask so many questions concerning the mode in which both ladies had conducted themselves on the journey, the degree of intimacy to which they admitted Quentin himself, and other trying particulars, that, vexed, and ashamed, and angry, the youth was scarce able to conceal his embarrassment from the keen sighted soldier and courtier, who seemed suddenly disposed to take leave of him, saying, at the same time, "Umph -- I see it is as I conjectured, on one side at least, I trust the other party has kept her senses better. -- Come, Sir Squire, spur on, and keep the van, while I fall back to discourse with the Lady Isabelle. I think I have learned now so much from you, that I can talk to her of these sad passages without hurting her nicety, though I have fretted yours a little. -- Yet stay, young gallant -- one word ere you go. You have had, I imagine, a happy journey through Fairyland -- all full of heroic adventure, and high hope, and wild minstrel-like delusion, like the gardens of Morgaine la Fee (half-sister of Arthur. Her gardens abounded in all good things; music filled the air, and the inhabitants enjoyed perpetual youth). Forget it all, young soldier," he added, tapping him on the shoulder, "remember yonder lady only as the honoured Countess of Croye -- forget her as a wandering and adventurous damsel. And her friends -- one of them I can answer for -- will remember, on their part, only the services you have done her, and forget the unreasonable reward which you have had the boldness to propose to yourself."

Enraged that he had been unable to conceal from the sharp sighted Crevecoeur feelings which the Count seemed to consider as the object of ridicule, Quentin replied indignantly, "My Lord Count, when I require advice of you, I will ask it, when I demand assistance of you, it will be time enough to grant or refuse it, when I set peculiar value on your opinion of me, it will not be too late to express it."

"Heyday!" said the Count, "I have come between Amadis and Oriana, and must expect a challenge to the lists!"

(Amadis is the hero of a famous mediaeval romance originally written in Portuguese, but translated into French and much enlarged by subsequent romancers. Amadis is represented as a model of chivalry. His lady was Oriana.)

"You speak as if that were an impossibility," said Quentin. "When I broke a lance with the Duke of Orleans, it was against a head in which flowed better blood than that of Crevecoeur. -- When I measured swords with Dunois, I engaged a better warrior."

"Now Heaven nourish thy judgment, gentle youth," said Crevecoeur, still laughing at the chivalrous inamorato. "If thou speak'st truth, thou hast had singular luck in this world, and, truly, if it be the pleasure of Providence exposes thee to such trials, without a beard on thy lip, thou wilt be mad with vanity ere thou writest thyself man. Thou canst not move me to anger, though thou mayst to mirth. Believe me, though thou mayst have fought with Princes, and played the champion for Countesses, by some of those freaks which Fortune will sometimes exhibit, thou art by no means the equal of those of whom thou hast been either the casual opponent, or more casual companion. I can allow thee like a youth, who hath listened to romances till he fancied himself a Paladin, to form pretty dreams for some time, but thou must not be angry at a well meaning friend, though he shake thee something roughly by the shoulders to awake thee."

"My Lord of Crevecoeur," said Quentin, "my family --"

"Nay, it was not utterly of family that I spoke," said the Count, "but of rank, fortune, high station, and so forth, which place a distance between various degrees and classes of persons. As for birth, all men are descended from Adam and Eve."

"My Lord Count," repeated Quentin, "my ancestors, the Durwards of Glen Houlakin --"

"Nay," said the Count, "if you claim a farther descent for them than from Adam, I have done! Good even to you."

He reined back his horse, and paused to join the Countess, to whom, if possible, his insinuations and advices, however well meant, were still more disagreeable than to Quentin, who, as he rode on, muttered to himself, "Cold blooded, insolent, overweening coxcomb! -- Would that the next Scottish Archer who has his harquebuss pointed at thee, may not let thee off so easily as I did!"

In the evening they reached the town of Charleroi, on the Sambre, where the Count of Crevecoeur had determined to leave the Countess Isabelle, whom the terror and fatigue of yesterday, joined to a flight of fifty miles since morning, and the various distressing sensations by which it was accompanied, had made incapable of travelling farther with safety to her health. The Count consigned her, in a state of great exhaustion, to the care of the Abbess of the Cistercian convent in Charleroi, a noble lady, to whom both the families of Crevecoeur and Croye were related, and in whose prudence and kindness he could repose confidence.

Crevecoeur himself only stopped to recommend the utmost caution to the governor of a small Burgundian garrison who occupied the place, and required him also to mount a guard of honour upon the convent during the residence of the Countess Isabelle of Croye -- ostensibly to secure her safety, but perhaps secretly to prevent her attempting to escape. The Count only assigned as a cause for the garrison's being vigilant, some vague rumours which he had heard of disturbances in the Bishopric of Liege. But he was determined himself to be the first who should carry the formidable news of the insurrection and the murder of the Bishop, in all their horrible reality, to Duke Charles, and for that purpose, having procured fresh horses for himself and suite, he mounted with the resolution of continuing his journey to Peronne without stopping for repose, and, informing Quentin Durward that he must attend him, he made, at the same time, a mock apology for parting fair company, but hoped that to so devoted a squire of dames a night's journey by moonshine would be more agreeable than supinely to yield himself to slumber like an ordinary mortal.

Quentin, already sufficiently afflicted by finding that he was to be parted from Isabelle, longed to answer this taunt with an indignant defiance, but aware that the Count would only laugh at his anger, and despise his challenge, he resolved to wait some future time, when he might have an opportunity of obtaining some amends from this proud lord, who, though for very different reasons, had become nearly as odious to him as the Wild Boar of Ardennes himself. He therefore assented to Crevecoeur's proposal, as to what he had no choice of declining, and they pursued in company, and with all the despatch they could exert, the road between Charleroi and Peronne.

有救抑或无救,骑士先生,

我都是您的俘虏;

按您高贵心灵的启示发落我吧——

想想战争的机遇也可能有一天

使您陷入我此刻的处境——

置身于不幸的俘虏的行列。

无名氏

黑骑兵和勃艮第武士的交锋只延续了约莫五分钟,因为后者的甲胄、战马和士气均占优势,很快就打得前者溃不成军。还没等到我们提到的那一瞬间过去,克雷维格伯爵已在用马的鬃毛擦拭他那沾满鲜血的钢刀。接着,他回到森林的边缘看见伊莎贝尔一直站在那儿观看他们的战斗。一部分人马跟着他,另一部分人马则花了点时间继续追击溃逃的敌人。

“骑士和贵族的刀剑被这些野猪血所玷污也真是种耻辱。”伯爵说道。

说罢他把刀插回刀鞘,并补充说:“我的好侄女,这可是对你回来的一种粗鲁的欢迎。不过,流浪的贵族小姐们也只能把这种风险看作家常便饭。幸好我及时赶到,否则,我可以肯定地告诉你,黑骑兵可把伯爵小姐的冠冕看得和乡下姑娘的帽子一样无足轻重。我看你的扈从没啥本事可进行多少抵抗。”

“伯爵大人,”伊莎贝尔小姐说,“直说吧,我是否是个囚徒,您将把我带到哪儿去?”

“傻孩子,你知道嘛,”伯爵回答说,“要是事情取决于我的意愿,我会回答这个问题。不过,你和你那喜欢说媒求婿的傻姑母近来一直在插翅乱飞,你们该满意地收拢翅膀在笼子里呆一会了。就我来说,当我把你带到佩隆的公爵宫廷,我的职责——一个不愉快的职责——也就结束。为此,我看我有必要把这支侦察部队的指挥权交给我侄儿斯蒂芬伯爵。我将和你一道回佩隆去。我想你很需要一个替你说情的人——我希望这个年轻的冒失鬼会明智地履行他的职责。”

“好叔叔,”斯蒂芬伯爵说道,“假如您怀疑我指挥部队的能力,那您就留下来带领部队,我来为克罗伊埃·伊莎贝尔伯爵小姐充当仆役和保镖好了。”

“好侄儿,”叔叔回答道,“你这个建议肯定比我的主意更好。不过我还是喜欢按我原来的计划去做。我要请你注意,你的责任不是猎杀这些黑猪——看来你对此特别感到义不容辞——而是给我收集有关列日的真实情报,以澄清我们听到的种种荒唐的谣传。我带十来个长矛手,其余的留在我的旗下,听从你的指挥。”

“等一等,克雷维格叔叔,”伊莎贝尔伯爵小姐说道,“在我投诚自首之际,请让我至少要求您保护在危难中救助过我的这两个人的安全。请让这年轻人——我的忠实向导——平安地返回他的故乡列日。”

“我将叫我侄儿护送这年轻人,”克雷维格敏锐地观察了格洛弗诚实的面貌之后说道,“看来他的确不会坏事。我们将把他一直送到目的地,然后放他回去。”

“请你一定要代我向善良的格特鲁德问好,”伯爵小姐对向导说道,然后她从面纱底下取出一串珍珠补充了一句,“求她把这串珍珠戴上,以纪念一个不幸的朋友。”

诚实的格洛弗接过这串珍珠,以笨拙的姿势,诚恳而有礼地吻了小姐的纤手。他真没想到她会想出这样一个微妙的办法来报答他的辛劳和所冒的危险。

“哼!真是名堂多!”伯爵说道,回好侄女,还有别的赠礼吗?我们得上路了。”

“还有一点,”伯爵小姐作了一番努力才说出口来,“请您优待这位——这位年轻的绅士。”

“哼!”克雷维格说道,也像刚才对待格洛弗那样向昆丁投射了一个锐利的目光,但观察的结果显然不那么满意。同时他还没有恶意地模仿了一下伯爵小姐的窘态。“哼!这可是另一种性格的伙计。我的侄女,请问这位——这位年轻的绅士有什么功劳值得你为他这么说情呢?”

“他拯救了我的生命和荣誉。”伯爵小姐又羞又恼地红着脸说道。

昆丁也气得脸通红,但他明智地考虑到,表露自己的愤怒只能更加坏事。

“生命和荣誉?哼!”克雷维格伯爵又说道,“我的侄女,我倒希望你最好不必因为这种事情对这位年轻绅士感恩图报。好吧,要是这位年轻绅士身份许可,我可以让他陪伴我们。我保证他不会受到伤害——不过,今后我将亲自负责保护你的生命和荣誉,也许给他找一个比充当流浪少女随身扈从更适当的差事。”

“伯爵大人,”达威特说道,他感到无法再保持沉默,“为了避免您以轻蔑的口气谈论一个陌生人,而以后感到有失体面,我想冒昧地告诉您,我是昆丁·达威特,苏格兰近卫军的射手。正如您所知道的,只有绅士和贵族才有资格参加这个卫队。”

“射手先生,谢谢您这个介绍,我也想吻吻您的手才好。”克雷维格仍然用嘲讽的口气说道,“劳驾和我一道骑到前面去吧!”

昆丁只好听从伯爵的命令,因为他知道伯爵目前有这个力量对他颐指气使——始不论是否有这个权利。他看到伊莎贝尔小姐正以一种近乎温柔的不安和畏怯的表情目送他走向前去。见到这个情景,不禁使他暗自落泪。但他并没忘记自己得在克雷维格面前扮演大丈夫角色。而这人在法国或勃艮第骑士当中,对真诚爱情的忧伤除了嘲笑以外,最无同情可言。因此,他决定不等他开口,自己先和他对话,并通过一种坚决的口吻强调他有权获得公正的待遇,受到更大的尊敬。而伯爵在看到一个身份卑微的人受到他那出身高贵的富有的侄女如此的青睐,一气之下,就没有给他应有的尊敬。

“克雷维格伯爵,”他用一种温和而坚定的口吻说道,“在继续我们的谈话之前,请您告诉我,我享有自由呢,还是得把自己看作一个俘虏?”

“这是个尖锐的问题,”伯爵回答说,“目前我只能用另一个问题来作为对答——你认为法国与勃艮第现在是彼此和好呢,还是处于交战状态?”

“这个么,”那苏格兰人回答道,“大人肯定比我知道得更清楚,我近来一直不在法国宫廷,好些时候没听见什么消息。”

“你瞧,”伯爵说道,“问问题倒很容易,回答起来可真困难。你知道,过去一个多星期我一直和公爵呆在佩隆,我也无法比你更好地回答这个难题。扈从先生,你上面那个问题——即你究竟是俘虏还是享有自由——却又取决于对这个问题的回答。目前,我只好把你看作俘虏——不过,要是你真为我侄女忠实地效劳过,要是你对我的问题都作出坦率的回答,这对你会有好处。”

“克罗伊埃伯爵小姐最能评断我是否给她效劳过,”昆丁说道,“我请您去问问她。您问我问题时,您也可以对我的回答作出自己的判断。”

“哼!好高傲的口气,”克雷维格伯爵喃喃说道,“很像个帽子上戴有仕女的徽记的骑士!仿佛说起话来总得带点高傲的口吻才能使那些宝贵的绸结增加点光彩似的。好吧,先生,就请你回答我,你在克罗伊埃·伊莎贝尔小姐身边呆了多久吧。我想这总不至于有损你的尊严吧?”

“克雷维格伯爵,”昆丁·达威特说道,“如果说您以近乎侮辱的口吻提出问题能得到我的回答的话,那只是因为我担心,要是我沉默,就有可能对我们两人都有义务公正对待的人得出不利的结论。我是从伊莎贝尔小姐离开法国去弗兰德那天起就一直充当她的保护人的。”

“嗬!嗬!”伯爵说道,“这就是说,从她逃离普莱西·勒·图尔的那天起?你是一个苏格兰近卫军的射手,你当然是根据路易王的手令护送她的啰?”

昆丁自然并不认为路易王对他有恩情可言,因为他在策划让德拉马克半途抢劫伊莎贝尔小姐时,也许就已指望年轻的苏格兰人在保护她的战斗当中遭到杀害。但他认为他也没有权利背弃路易王对他的信任,或仅停留于表面上的信任。所以针对克雷维格伯爵的推论他只是回答说:“上级命令我该怎么做就够了,我并没有进一步打听。”

“完全够了。”伯爵说道,“我们知道,除了想达到某种政治目的,路易王是不会让他的军官派他的近卫军射手在流亡仕女骑的马旁边像个献殷勤的骑士那样蹦蹦跳跳的。既然护送两位克罗伊埃仕女的是路易王自己的卫士,那么他要想继续大胆地申明,他事先不知道她们逃离法国,就不那么容易了。射手先生,你得到的命令是叫你去什么地方?”

“去列日,我的大人,”苏格兰人回答道,“因为两位仕女希望得到已故的列日主教的保护。”

“已故的主教?”克雷维格伯爵惊叫道,“路易·波旁死了吗?公爵一点没得到他害病的消息——他是怎么死的?”

“他是躺在一个血淋淋的坟墓里——而这是假定杀害他的人不怕麻烦,舍得把他的遗体葬在一个坟墓里。”

“杀害他!”克雷维格又惊叫道,“天上的圣母呀!年轻人,这是不可能的事!”

“我是亲眼看见他们杀害他的。此外,他们还干了许许多多可怕的事。”

“亲眼看见的!竟然没有跑去救救那善良的主教!”伯爵又惊叫道,“也不去动员城堡里的人去攻打杀害他的人?你知道,即使不加抵抗地听任这种行为发生,也是一种亵渎神明的行为!”

“大人,我用几句话告诉您吧,”达威特说,“在杀害主教之前,嗜血的威廉·德拉马克已经在反叛的列日市民帮助下攻占了城堡。”

“真是晴天霹雳!”克雷维格说道,“列日城叛乱!索恩瓦尔德被攻占!主教遭杀害!你这报忧的使者哟,从来没有人像你这样一下带来了这么多的噩耗!你说——你知道这次进攻、这次叛乱。这个谋杀事件吗?你说——你是路易信赖的一个苏格兰射手,要晓得,正是他射出的这致命的一箭。你说,不然我得把你五马分尸!”

“大人,即使您真把我分尸,您也无法从我身上分出一点与一个真正的苏格兰绅士不相容的东西。我和您一样,对这个万恶的行径事前毫无所知。非但我不是一个参与者,而且,假如我不是那么力不从心的话,我肯定会和他们战斗到底。然而,我有什么办法呢?他们成百上千,而我单枪匹马。我只顾得上救出伊莎贝尔小姐。所幸这点我算是做到了。不过,要是他们残酷杀害老人时,我离他们很近的话,我要么救了这白发老人,要么我为他报了仇。事实是我大声地表示了我的抗议,才避免了另外一些恐怖事件的发生。”

“年轻人,我相信你,”伯爵说道,“论你的年龄或性格,你只适合当仕女的扈从,而不适合干这种血腥事。可悲哟,一位仁慈宽厚的主教竟在他经常以基督的博爱和王子的慷慨款待外乡人的大厅里惨遭杀害——遭到一个恶棍、一个恶魔的杀害。这个凶残嗜血的毒瘤正是在他的双手沾满了恩人鲜血的大厅里被培养大的。我不知道勃艮第·查尔斯如何反应——不过,这种空前未有的骇人听闻的残暴肯定会招来迅猛、严厉、锐不可当的报应,否则就是皇天无眼。假如别人不追缉杀人犯,”这时他沉默片刻,捏紧刀把,丢开缰绳,用两只带着钢手套的手捶打胸脯,把胸甲打得铿然作响,最后举起双手,庄严地说道,“我——我,科尔德的菲利普·克雷维格向上帝发誓,向圣兰伯特和科隆三王发誓,我要排除一切杂念,一心为善良的波旁·路易报仇,不管凶手在森林或田野,在城市或乡村,在山区或平原,在宫廷或教堂,我都要穷追到底!对此我以我的田地和房产、朋友的交情和部下的忠诚以及生命和荣誉作保。愿上帝助我,愿圣兰伯特和科隆三王助我!”

克雷维格伯爵发完誓以后,似乎稍许减轻了他听到索恩瓦尔德惨剧时的极其悲痛和惊奇的心情,开始更仔细地向达威特打听惨剧的详情。那苏格兰人无意消减伯爵对威廉·德拉马克所抱的复仇决心,便详尽地向他作了介绍。

“列日市民都是些不忠不义、动摇盲从的畜牲,”伯爵说道,“竟和这估恶不俊的强盗和凶手勾结起来,杀害他们合法的亲王!”

达威特告诉这愤怒的勃艮第人说,列日市民——至少是出身较好的那部分市民——虽然莽撞地参与了反对主教的叛乱,但在他看来,他们在德拉马克的滔天罪行中并没有助纣为虐的意图。相反,要是力所能及,他们本会阻止其发生,因为当他们看到惨剧发生时也都大惊失色。

“别谈这些动摇变节的乌合之众了。”克雷维格说道,“既然他们武装反叛一位亲王——而他惟一的缺点就是对待这群忘恩负义的奴才太仁慈太善良——既然他们武装反叛他,冲进他和平的城堡,除了杀害他还能有什么别的目的呢?既然他们和‘阿登内斯野猪’这弗兰德沼泽中最大的杀人犯狼狈为奸,除了‘以杀人为业’之外,还能有什么别的目的呢?而且,照你自己的说法,刽子手不正是这群凶恶的暴民中的一个屠夫吗?我真希望看到他们房屋都烧光,火光照耀他们那些被鲜血染红的运河。啊,他们杀害的是多么仁慈、高贵、慷慨无私的主教!在其他地方,臣民叛乱往往是因为捐税的压力和贫困,但列日市民叛乱是因为太富大无礼。”他又丢开缰绳,痛苦地搓搓被钢甲手套弄得很不灵便的两只手。昆丁不难看出,主教与他过去的交往和友谊所带来的痛苦回忆更加深了他的悲恸。所以他默不作声,表示他尊敬自己既不想加剧也无法安慰的这样一种感情。

然而克雷维格伯爵却一再重复这个话题,一再询问攻打索恩瓦尔德和杀害主教的详情。他忽然像想起忘掉的某件事似的问起哈梅琳女士的下落,以及没和她侄女一道来的原因。“倒不是我认为她没来是对伊莎贝尔小姐的一种损失。”他轻蔑地补充说道,“虽然她是她的姑母,而且总的来说也是个心眼不坏的女人,但连科开因国的宫廷和王室也从来不曾产生过这样一个荒诞可笑的傻瓜。我向来认为她侄女是个守本分的姑娘。我敢肯定,一定是这个喜欢说媒、找对象、爱闹笑话的罗曼蒂克老白痴使她干出了从勃艮第逃奔法国这种荒谬事!”

在一个富于罗曼蒂克感情的恋人听来,这段话多不人耳!但听了之后,要想作出不切实际的干预又会显得多么可笑。这里指的是用武力迫使伯爵认识到他把那思想和外貌都举世无双的伯爵小姐称作一个守本分的姑娘,是对她的一种莫大的委屈,因为这种品质也可以恰当地形容一个黝黑的农夫女儿——帮父亲赶牛犁田的农家姑娘。而且他还认为她受到一个愚蠢而罗曼蒂克的姑母的管治和指引——这种诽谤真应叫诽谤者自己吞下去才好。然而,克雷维格伯爵严峻而开朗的面孔,以及他对支配着昆丁的内心感情表现出的十足的轻蔑使他望而生畏。他害怕的倒不是伯爵英勇善战的名声(这反倒能刺激他挑战的欲望),而是各种热心人最害怕的一种武器——讥笑。它对这些人的心灵起着一种驾驭作用,往往能避免他们做出荒谬的事,但也能妨碍他们做出高贵的事。

既然达威特害怕的是遭到对方的轻视而不是不满,所以他克制了一下,只是含糊地回答说,哈梅琳女士早在攻城开始以前就已逃出索恩瓦尔德堡。要想把事情说清楚难免要使伊莎贝尔这位姑母,以及作为她荒谬的追逐对象的他本人蒙受一点讥笑。对这难以出口的情节他还作了一点补充,说他曾听见一个传闻,说哈梅琳女士已落到威廉·德拉马克手里,不过还有待进一步明确。

“凭圣兰伯特说,我相信他会要她做妻子。”克雷维格说,“为了得到她的钱袋,他很可能这样做,但一当钱袋到手,顶多等钱都花光,他也同样有可能给她当头一棒,把她活活打死。”

伯爵接着又问了许多别的问题,诸如两位仕女在旅途上表现如何,她们和昆丁本人亲密程度如何,以及其他烦人的细节,使得这年轻人羞恼交迫,感觉简直无法对这目光锐利的武士和朝臣掩饰自己的窘态。但幸好伯爵忽然想离开他身边,他说:“哼!我看事情就像我猜的那样——至少一方如此。也许另一方头脑要健全一些。扈从先生,你骑到前面去吧。我将到后面去和伊莎贝尔小姐谈谈。我想我已从你身上了解到很多情况,可以使我和她谈到这些不幸的经历时避免伤她的面子——虽然难免伤你一点面子。喂,年轻的美男子,你等一等,我想先跟你讲句话。我想你是在仙乡和梦境里作了一次愉快的旅行——一切都充满了英雄般的冒险、伟大的希冀以及行吟诗人般的幻觉,仿佛置身于摩甘娜仙女的花园吧!忘掉这一切,年轻的卫士。”他拍拍他的肩膀补充说,“要记住那位女士是克罗伊埃伯爵小姐,别再以为她还是一个富于冒险性的流浪女郎了。她的朋友们——至少我可以代其中一位担保——也将只把你为她效的劳记在心里,而不理睬你妄自索要的非分报酬。”

昆丁十分气恼,因为他没能对这目光锐利的克雷维格隐藏住自己可供他嘲弄的内心感情。所以他气愤地回答说:“伯爵大人,要是我需要您的忠告,我会向您求教。要是我需要您给我帮助,您也可以从容地考虑同意或拒绝。要是我特别重视您对我的看法,过些时候说出来也还不迟。”

“嘿!”伯爵说道,“我真是夹在阿马迪斯和奥里安纳两人当中,得等待你决斗的挑战了。”

“您似乎说这是不可能的事,”昆丁说道,“但您要知道,我和奥尔良公爵决斗时,被我的长矛对准的胸膛里,流着的是比您克雷维格更为高贵的血液。当我和杜诺瓦交锋时,我那位对手的武艺也要胜你一筹。”

“年轻人,愿上帝好好培养你的判断能力,”克雷维格说道,一边忍不住对这骑士风度的恋人放声大笑,“如果你说的是实话,那么你算是在这个人世间大大地走运。说实在的,要是在你嘴上无毛时老天爷就乐意使你受到这种考验,那么在你称得上大人以前你准会骄傲得不可一世。你无法叫我生气,只能叫我开心。相信我的话吧,尽管命运之神有时会出现怪念头,使你有幸和王公贵族交锋、为伯爵小姐充当卫士,但你决不能和偶然成为你的对手,或偶然成为你的旅伴的人平起平坐。我可以把你当作一个听多了浪漫故事,幻想自己是个骑士的年轻人来看待,容许你胡思乱想一段时间,但你一定不要对一个好心的朋友生气,尽管他有点粗鲁地摇撼你的肩头使你清醒清醒。”

“克雷维格大人,”昆丁说道,“我的家庭——”

“不,我指的不完全是家庭,”伯爵说道,“而是指的官阶、财产。崇高的地位等等。这些都在不同等级的人们中间造成了不可逾越的障碍。至于说出身,那么所有的人都是亚当夏娃的子孙。”

“我的伯爵大人,”昆丁再次说道,“我的祖先,格兰一呼拉金的达威特——”

“得了,”伯爵说道,“要是你能为他们找到一个比亚当更早的祖先,那我算服你了!再见。”

他回过马来和伯爵小姐走在一起。听到他那些尽管是善意的暗示和劝告,小姐感到的厌恶甚至要比昆丁更为强烈。昆丁在向前走去时,喃喃自语地说道:“无礼、傲慢、冷酷、自以为了不起的蠢家伙!但愿你有朝一日碰到别的苏格兰射手,用火枪对准你,不像我这样轻易饶了你!”

晚上他们到达了桑布尔河上的沙勒罗瓦城。克雷维格伯爵决定把伊莎贝尔小姐留在这个地方。因为昨天经历的恐怖和疲劳,加上一早出发已走了五十英里的路程,一路上又遇到种种不愉快的感受,要她继续往前走势必影响她的健康。伯爵把极度疲乏的伊莎贝尔交给沙勒罗瓦的西斯特兴女修道院院长照顾。她是和克雷维格家族和克罗伊埃家族都有亲戚关系的一位高贵的妇女,因此他可以充分信赖她的审慎和善良。

在城里停留时,克雷维格指示驻扎该地的勃艮第守军司令官提高警惕。他还要求在克罗伊埃·伊莎贝尔伯爵小姐逗留期间给女修道院派一个仪仗队担任守护——表面上是为了保证她的安全,暗地里也许是想防止她逃跑。伯爵交待该地守军要提高警惕时,只是含糊地说他听到了列日主教辖区出现骚动的谣传,不过还有待明确。至于列日叛乱和主教遇难的噩耗及其可怕的详细情况他已决定亲自向查尔斯公爵汇报,首先让他知道。因此他在给自己和随行人员换了马之后,便命令立即动身,决心马不停蹄地一直赶到佩隆。他通知昆丁·达威特和他同行,同时他还讥讽地道歉说,他不得不拆散一对佳偶,但希望像他这样一位仕女们的忠实扈从会感到在月光下走一夜总比像常人那样酣睡一夜要愉快得多。

昆丁想到他得和伊莎贝尔分手已经够痛苦了,听到他这个讥讽真恨不得向他提出愤怒的挑战。但他知道伯爵只会嘲笑他的愤怒,蔑视他的挑战,所以他决心等待将来某个时候,再找机会向这个骄傲的贵族进行报复。虽然原因很不相同,他的确感到他和“阿登内斯野猪”几乎同样可憎。最后,他只得无可奈何地同意克雷维格的吩咐,和他一道尽快地赶完沙勒罗瓦和佩隆之间的路程。



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

鲁ICP备05031204号