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CHAPTER XXVIII
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THEOPHRASTUS GOES INTO ETERNAL EXILE
At this point I leave the report of the Commissary of Police, M. Mifroid. The conclusion of it indeed is filled with the most profound and philosophic1 reflections on the effect of companionship in misfortune on the human heart; but they are not relevant to the story of Theophrastus.
 
When the noise of the flying feet of M. Mifroid no longer came echoing down the empty street, the heart of that unfortunate man filled with the deepest melancholy2. Here was that accursed Black Feather again! Behold3 him in the flickering4 light of a street lamp. He shakes his head. Ah! with what a lamentable5 air does he shake his miserable6 and dolorous7 head! Of what is he dreaming, unhappy wretch8, that again and again he shakes his luckless head? Doubtless the idea he had had of going back to disturb the peace of his dear Marceline no longer appears to him reasonable. Plainly he[Pg 309] rejects it, for his heavy, lagging feet do not carry him towards the heights of Gerando Street.
 
Some minutes later, he finds himself in Saint-Andrew-des-Arts Place, and plunges9 into the dark passage of Suger Street. He rings at a door. The door opens. In the passage a man in a blouse, with a paper cap on his head and a lantern in his hand, asks him what he wants.
 
"Good-evening, Ambrose. You are still awake, are you—as late as this?" said Theophrastus. "It's me. Oh, a lot of things have happened since I last saw you!"
 
It was true. A lot of things had happened to M. Longuet since he had last seen Ambrose, for he had not seen him since the day on which he had learned from him the date of the water-mark on the document found in the cellars of the Conciergerie.
 
"Come in, and make yourself at home," said Ambrose.
 
"I will tell you all about it to-morrow," said Theophrastus. "But to-night I want to sleep."
 
Ambrose took him up to bed, and he slept the dreamless sleep of a little child.
 
During the next few days Ambrose tried to induce Theophrastus to speak; but, oddly enough, he preserved a complete silence. He[Pg 310] spent his time writing and writing. Once or twice he went out at night. Once Ambrose asked him where he was going.
 
"A Commissary of Police, M. Mifroid, is writing an account of a journey we took together," said Theophrastus. "And I am going to ask him for a copy of it."
 
I am inclined to believe that one of these nights he must also have returned to the flat in Gerando Street, by his favourite chimney, and taken away from it the report, which M. Lecamus had written for the Pneumatic Club, of the operation of M. Eliphas de Saint-Elme de Taillebourg de la Nox. Also on one of those nights he must have acquired the sandalwood box inlaid with steel; and since Ambrose believes that he had but little money, it is not improbable that when he acquired it he had his Black Feather.
 
One evening he came downstairs carrying a box, the sandalwood box, under his arm; and with an air of gloomy satisfaction, he said to Ambrose, "I have finished my literary labours; and I think I will go and see my wife."
 
"I did not like to speak to you about her," said Ambrose quickly. "Your gloom and your inexplicable10 behaviour made me afraid that you had some domestic difficulties."
 
[Pg 311]"She is as fond of me as ever!" cried Theophrastus with some heat.
 
As he left the house, Ambrose said to him, "Be sure you remember me very kindly11 to Marceline."
 
Theophrastus said that he would; but to himself he said:
 
"Marceline will never see me; she must never see me. Not even the Catacombs have torn out my fatal Black Feather. I must not trouble her peace. She shall never see me. But I—I wish to see her once again, from afar, to see if she is happy."
 
He sobbed12 in the street.
 
It is nine o'clock at night, a dark winter's night. Theophrastus mounts the slope at the top of which rise the walls of Azure13 Waves Villa14. With a trembling hand he draws back the bolt of the little door of the garden behind the house. He crosses the garden gently, noiselessly, one hand pressed against his heart, which is beating even more furiously than on the night of the purring of the little violet cat—his good heart, his great heart, still overflowing15 with love for the wife he wishes to see happy.
 
There is a light in the drawing-room; and[Pg 312] the window is a few inches open, for the night is muggy16. You advance slowly, noiselessly to a screening shrub17, set down the sandalwood box, and peer through the leafless branches into the cosy18 drawing-room.
 
Ah! what have you seen in the drawing-room?... Why that deep groan19? Why do you tear the white locks from your brow?... What have you seen?... After all, does it matter what you have seen, since you are dead? Did you not wish to see your wife happy? Well, you see her happy!
 
She and M. Lecamus are sitting on the sofa. They are holding one another's hand; they are gazing at one another with the eyes of lovers. He kisses her, with respect but with devotion. He is consoling her for the loss of you. You wished it. How can he better console her than by replacing you?
 
Theophrastus, the gentle, kind-hearted manufacturer of rubber stamps, perceives this. He drops on his knees on the cold, wet grass, weeping tears of bitter resignation. He is reconciling himself to the necessity of the cruel fact that they are sitting in his comfortable drawing-room, and he is kneeling on his cold, wet grass. He is almost reconciled to it; but not quite. What is that that is thrusting,[Pg 313] thrusting forth20? The upward thrust of the Past—the Black Feather!
 
The tears are drying in the eyes of Theophrastus. His eyes are gleaming through the dim winter night with an evil gleam. He springs to his feet; he grinds his teeth; he cries hoarsely21:
 
"By the throttle22 of Madame Phalaris!"
 
The Past has him in its grip; he is racked by the pangs23 of the old-time jealousy24, and the pangs of the new. In three seconds he is through the window and in the drawing-room. Wild screams of terror greet his entrance; but in ten seconds more M. Lecamus lies senseless in the big easy-chair, bound hand and foot with the bell-rope. When he recovers his senses, the hand of the clock has moved on ten minutes. Torn by fears and suspense25, he listens with all his ears. He hears faint movements on the floor above. The minutes pass; twenty minutes pass. Then there is a sound of heavy footsteps on the stairs. Theophrastus enters, once more a changed Theophrastus: his eyes no longer gleam with an evil light; they are full of unshed tears. His face is working with intense emotion; and on his shoulder is a portmanteau.
 
What does that portmanteau contain?
 
[Pg 314]Theophrastus, his face working with intense emotion, crosses the room to his old friend. He wrings26 his hand, wrings it for the last time; and in a broken voice, a voice full of tears, he says:
 
"Good-bye, Adolphe! Good-bye, dear friend, for ever! I am going to the Seine near the Town Hall Bridge. I have to leave this portmanteau. And then I go into eternal exile!"
 
He loosed his grip of his friend's hand and, his face still working with intense emotion, he went through the window, bearing the portmanteau with astonishing ease.
 
M. Lecamus has never seen him again; he has never seen Marceline again; he has never seen the portmanteau again. Does the unhappy Theophrastus, luckless exile from the Paris he loves, wander through the far East or the far West? Does he in the old eighteenth-century fashion police Bagdad, or does he build up a rubber stamp business in Chicago?
 

点击收听单词发音收听单词发音  

1 philosophic ANExi     
adj.哲学的,贤明的
参考例句:
  • It was a most philosophic and jesuitical motorman.这是个十分善辩且狡猾的司机。
  • The Irish are a philosophic as well as a practical race.爱尔兰人是既重实际又善于思想的民族。
2 melancholy t7rz8     
n.忧郁,愁思;adj.令人感伤(沮丧)的,忧郁的
参考例句:
  • All at once he fell into a state of profound melancholy.他立即陷入无尽的忧思之中。
  • He felt melancholy after he failed the exam.这次考试没通过,他感到很郁闷。
3 behold jQKy9     
v.看,注视,看到
参考例句:
  • The industry of these little ants is wonderful to behold.这些小蚂蚁辛勤劳动的样子看上去真令人惊叹。
  • The sunrise at the seaside was quite a sight to behold.海滨日出真是个奇景。
4 flickering wjLxa     
adj.闪烁的,摇曳的,一闪一闪的
参考例句:
  • The crisp autumn wind is flickering away. 清爽的秋风正在吹拂。
  • The lights keep flickering. 灯光忽明忽暗。
5 lamentable A9yzi     
adj.令人惋惜的,悔恨的
参考例句:
  • This lamentable state of affairs lasted until 1947.这一令人遗憾的事态一直持续至1947年。
  • His practice of inebriation was lamentable.他的酗酒常闹得别人束手无策。
6 miserable g18yk     
adj.悲惨的,痛苦的;可怜的,糟糕的
参考例句:
  • It was miserable of you to make fun of him.你取笑他,这是可耻的。
  • Her past life was miserable.她过去的生活很苦。
7 dolorous k8Oym     
adj.悲伤的;忧愁的
参考例句:
  • With a broken-hearted smile,he lifted a pair of dolorous eyes.带著伤心的微笑,他抬起了一双痛苦的眼睛。
  • Perhaps love is a dolorous fairy tale.也许爱情是一部忧伤的童话。
8 wretch EIPyl     
n.可怜的人,不幸的人;卑鄙的人
参考例句:
  • You are really an ungrateful wretch to complain instead of thanking him.你不但不谢他,还埋怨他,真不知好歹。
  • The dead husband is not the dishonoured wretch they fancied him.死去的丈夫不是他们所想象的不光彩的坏蛋。
9 plunges 2f33cd11dab40d0fb535f0437bcb9bb1     
n.跳进,投入vt.使投入,使插入,使陷入vi.投入,跳进,陷入v.颠簸( plunge的第三人称单数 );暴跌;骤降;突降
参考例句:
  • Even before he plunges into his program, he has his audience in his pocket. 他的节目甚至还没有出场,就已控制住了观众。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • 'Monseigneur, he precipitated himself over the hill-side, head first, as a person plunges into the river.' “大人,他头冲下跳下山坡去了,像往河里跳一样。” 来自英汉文学 - 双城记
10 inexplicable tbCzf     
adj.无法解释的,难理解的
参考例句:
  • It is now inexplicable how that development was misinterpreted.当时对这一事态发展的错误理解究竟是怎么产生的,现在已经无法说清楚了。
  • There are many things which are inexplicable by science.有很多事科学还无法解释。
11 kindly tpUzhQ     
adj.和蔼的,温和的,爽快的;adv.温和地,亲切地
参考例句:
  • Her neighbours spoke of her as kindly and hospitable.她的邻居都说她和蔼可亲、热情好客。
  • A shadow passed over the kindly face of the old woman.一道阴影掠过老太太慈祥的面孔。
12 sobbed 4a153e2bbe39eef90bf6a4beb2dba759     
哭泣,啜泣( sob的过去式和过去分词 ); 哭诉,呜咽地说
参考例句:
  • She sobbed out the story of her son's death. 她哭诉着她儿子的死。
  • She sobbed out the sad story of her son's death. 她哽咽着诉说她儿子死去的悲惨经过。
13 azure 6P3yh     
adj.天蓝色的,蔚蓝色的
参考例句:
  • His eyes are azure.他的眼睛是天蓝色的。
  • The sun shone out of a clear azure sky.清朗蔚蓝的天空中阳光明媚。
14 villa xHayI     
n.别墅,城郊小屋
参考例句:
  • We rented a villa in France for the summer holidays.我们在法国租了一幢别墅消夏。
  • We are quartered in a beautiful villa.我们住在一栋漂亮的别墅里。
15 overflowing df84dc195bce4a8f55eb873daf61b924     
n. 溢出物,溢流 adj. 充沛的,充满的 动词overflow的现在分词形式
参考例句:
  • The stands were overflowing with farm and sideline products. 集市上农副产品非常丰富。
  • The milk is overflowing. 牛奶溢出来了。
16 muggy wFDxl     
adj.闷热的;adv.(天气)闷热而潮湿地;n.(天气)闷热而潮湿
参考例句:
  • We may expect muggy weather when the rainy season begins.雨季开始时,我们预料有闷热的天气。
  • It was muggy and overcast.天气闷热潮湿,而且天色阴沉。
17 shrub 7ysw5     
n.灌木,灌木丛
参考例句:
  • There is a small evergreen shrub on the hillside.山腰上有一小块常绿灌木丛。
  • Moving a shrub is best done in early spring.移植灌木最好是在初春的时候。
18 cosy dvnzc5     
adj.温暖而舒适的,安逸的
参考例句:
  • We spent a cosy evening chatting by the fire.我们在炉火旁聊天度过了一个舒适的晚上。
  • It was so warm and cosy in bed that Simon didn't want to get out.床上温暖而又舒适,西蒙简直不想下床了。
19 groan LfXxU     
vi./n.呻吟,抱怨;(发出)呻吟般的声音
参考例句:
  • The wounded man uttered a groan.那个受伤的人发出呻吟。
  • The people groan under the burden of taxes.人民在重税下痛苦呻吟。
20 forth Hzdz2     
adv.向前;向外,往外
参考例句:
  • The wind moved the trees gently back and forth.风吹得树轻轻地来回摇晃。
  • He gave forth a series of works in rapid succession.他很快连续发表了一系列的作品。
21 hoarsely hoarsely     
adv.嘶哑地
参考例句:
  • "Excuse me," he said hoarsely. “对不起。”他用嘶哑的嗓子说。
  • Jerry hoarsely professed himself at Miss Pross's service. 杰瑞嘶声嘶气地表示愿为普洛丝小姐效劳。 来自英汉文学 - 双城记
22 throttle aIKzW     
n.节流阀,节气阀,喉咙;v.扼喉咙,使窒息,压
参考例句:
  • These government restrictions are going to throttle our trade.这些政府的限制将要扼杀我们的贸易。
  • High tariffs throttle trade between countries.高的关税抑制了国与国之间的贸易。
23 pangs 90e966ce71191d0a90f6fec2265e2758     
突然的剧痛( pang的名词复数 ); 悲痛
参考例句:
  • She felt sudden pangs of regret. 她突然感到痛悔不已。
  • With touching pathos he described the pangs of hunger. 他以极具感伤力的笔触描述了饥饿的痛苦。
24 jealousy WaRz6     
n.妒忌,嫉妒,猜忌
参考例句:
  • Some women have a disposition to jealousy.有些女人生性爱妒忌。
  • I can't support your jealousy any longer.我再也无法忍受你的嫉妒了。
25 suspense 9rJw3     
n.(对可能发生的事)紧张感,担心,挂虑
参考例句:
  • The suspense was unbearable.这样提心吊胆的状况实在叫人受不了。
  • The director used ingenious devices to keep the audience in suspense.导演用巧妙手法引起观众的悬念。
26 wrings 5251ad9fc1160540f5befd9b114fe94b     
绞( wring的第三人称单数 ); 握紧(尤指别人的手); 把(湿衣服)拧干; 绞掉(水)
参考例句:
  • And so that interview Between Lucie and Sydney Carton has a pathos that wrings our hearts. 因此,露西和西德尼·卡登之间的会晤带有一种使我们感到揪心的凄楚的气氛。 来自英汉 - 翻译样例 - 文学
  • The girl wrings her dress dry. 这个女孩子扭乾她的衣服。


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