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首页 » 经典英文小说 » The Altar of the Dead » CHAPTER VIII.
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 He had ruthlessly abandoned her—that of course was what he had done.  Stransom made it all out in solitude1, at leisure, fitting the unmatched pieces gradually together and dealing2 one by one with a hundred obscure points.  She had known Hague only after her present friend’s relations with him had wholly terminated; obviously indeed a good while after; and it was natural enough that of his previous life she should have ascertained3 only what he had judged good to communicate.  There were passages it was quite conceivable that even in moments of the tenderest expansion he should have withheld4.  Of many facts in the career of a man so in the eye of the world there was of course a common knowledge; but this lady lived apart from public affairs, and the only time perfectly5 clear to her would have been the time following the dawn of her own drama.  A man in her place would have “looked up” the past—would even have consulted old newspapers.  It remained remarkable6 indeed that in her long contact with the partner of her retrospect7 no accident had lighted a train; but there was no arguing about that; the accident had in fact come: it had simply been that security had prevailed.  She had taken what Hague had given her, and her blankness in respect of his other connexions was only a touch in the picture of that plasticity Stransom had supreme8 reason to know so great a master could have been trusted to produce.
This picture was for a while all our friend saw: he caught his breath again and again as it came over him that the woman with whom he had had for years so fine a point of contact was a woman whom Acton Hague, of all men in the world, had more or less fashioned.  Such as she sat there to-day she was ineffaceably stamped with him.  Beneficent, blameless as Stransom held her, he couldn’t rid himself of the sense that he had been, as who should say, swindled.  She had imposed upon him hugely, though she had known it as little as he.  All this later past came back to him as a time grotesquely10 misspent.  Such at least were his first reflexions; after a while he found himself more divided and only, as the end of it, more troubled.  He imagined, recalled, reconstituted, figured out for himself the truth she had refused to give him; the effect of which was to make her seem to him only more saturated11 with her fate.  He felt her spirit, through the whole strangeness, finer than his own to the very degree in which she might have been, in which she certainly had been, more wronged.  A women, when wronged, was always more wronged than a man, and there were conditions when the least she could have got off with was more than the most he could have to bear.  He was sure this rare creature wouldn’t have got off with the least.  He was awestruck at the thought of such a surrender—such a prostration12.  Moulded indeed she had been by powerful hands, to have converted her injury into an exaltation so sublime13.  The fellow had only had to die for everything that was ugly in him to be washed out in a torrent14.  It was vain to try to guess what had taken place, but nothing could be clearer than that she had ended by accusing herself.  She absolved15 him at every point, she adored her very wounds.  The passion by which he had profited had rushed back after its ebb16, and now the tide of tenderness, arrested for ever at flood, was too deep even to fathom17.  Stransom sincerely considered that he had forgiven him; but how little he had achieved the miracle that she had achieved!  His forgiveness was silence, but hers was mere18 unuttered sound.  The light she had demanded for his altar would have broken his silence with a blare; whereas all the lights in the church were for her too great a hush19.
She had been right about the difference—she had spoken the truth about the change: Stransom was soon to know himself as perversely21 but sharply jealous.  His tide had ebbed22, not flowed; if he had “forgiven” Acton Hague, that forgiveness was a motive23 with a broken spring.  The very fact of her appeal for a material sign, a sign that should make her dead lover equal there with the others, presented the concession24 to her friend as too handsome for the case.  He had never thought of himself as hard, but an exorbitant25 article might easily render him so.  He moved round and round this one, but only in widening circles—the more he looked at it the less acceptable it seemed.  At the same time he had no illusion about the effect of his refusal; he perfectly saw how it would make for a rupture26.  He left her alone a week, but when at last he again called this conviction was cruelly confirmed.  In the interval27 he had kept away from the church, and he needed no fresh assurance from her to know she hadn’t entered it.  The change was complete enough: it had broken up her life.  Indeed it had broken up his, for all the fires of his shrine28 seemed to him suddenly to have been quenched29.  A great indifference30 fell upon him, the weight of which was in itself a pain; and he never knew what his devotion had been for him till in that shock it ceased like a dropped watch.  Neither did he know with how large a confidence he had counted on the final service that had now failed: the mortal deception32 was that in this abandonment the whole future gave way.
These days of her absence proved to him of what she was capable; all the more that he never dreamed she was vindictive33 or even resentful.  It was not in anger she had forsaken34 him; it was in simple submission35 to hard reality, to the stern logic36 of life.  This came home to him when he sat with her again in the room in which her late aunt’s conversation lingered like the tone of a cracked piano.  She tried to make him forget how much they were estranged37, but in the very presence of what they had given up it was impossible not to be sorry for her.  He had taken from her so much more than she had taken from him.  He argued with her again, told her she could now have the altar to herself; but she only shook her head with pleading sadness, begging him not to waste his breath on the impossible, the extinct.  Couldn’t he see that in relation to her private need the rites38 he had established were practically an elaborate exclusion39?  She regretted nothing that had happened; it had all been right so long as she didn’t know, and it was only that now she knew too much and that from the moment their eyes were open they would simply have to conform.  It had doubtless been happiness enough for them to go on together so long.  She was gentle, grateful, resigned; but this was only the form of a deep immoveability.  He saw he should never more cross the threshold of the second room, and he felt how much this alone would make a stranger of him and give a conscious stiffness to his visits.  He would have hated to plunge40 again into that well of reminders41, but he enjoyed quite as little the vacant alternative.
After he had been with her three or four times it struck him that to have come at last into her house had had the horrid42 effect of diminishing their intimacy43.  He had known her better, had liked her in greater freedom, when they merely walked together or kneeled together.  Now they only pretended; before they had been nobly sincere.  They began to try their walks again, but it proved a lame9 imitation, for these things, from the first, beginning or ending, had been connected with their visits to the church.  They had either strolled away as they came out or gone in to rest on the return.  Stransom, besides, now faltered44; he couldn’t walk as of old.  The omission45 made everything false; it was a dire46 mutilation of their lives.  Our friend was frank and monotonous47, making no mystery of his remonstrance48 and no secret of his predicament.  Her response, whatever it was, always came to the same thing—an implied invitation to him to judge, if he spoke20 of predicaments, of how much comfort she had in hers.  For him indeed was no comfort even in complaint, since every allusion49 to what had befallen them but made the author of their trouble more present.  Acton Hague was between them—that was the essence of the matter, and never so much between them as when they were face to face.  Then Stransom, while still wanting to banish50 him, had the strangest sense of striving for an ease that would involve having accepted him.  Deeply disconcerted by what he knew, he was still worse tormented51 by really not knowing.  Perfectly aware that it would have been horribly vulgar to abuse his old friend or to tell his companion the story of their quarrel, it yet vexed52 him that her depth of reserve should give him no opening and should have the effect of a magnanimity greater even than his own.
He challenged himself, denounced himself, asked himself if he were in love with her that he should care so much what adventures she had had.  He had never for a moment allowed he was in love with her; therefore nothing could have surprised him more than to discover he was jealous.  What but jealousy53 could give a man that sore contentious54 wish for the detail of what would make him suffer?  Well enough he knew indeed that he should never have it from the only person who to-day could give it to him.  She let him press her with his sombre eyes, only smiling at him with an exquisite55 mercy and breathing equally little the word that would expose her secret and the word that would appear to deny his literal right to bitterness.  She told nothing, she judged nothing; she accepted everything but the possibility of her return to the old symbols.  Stransom divined that for her too they had been vividly56 individual, had stood for particular hours or particular attributes—particular links in her chain.  He made it clear to himself, as he believed, that his difficulty lay in the fact that the very nature of the plea for his faithless friend constituted a prohibition57; that it happened to have come from her was precisely58 the vice31 that attached to it.  To the voice of impersonal59 generosity60 he felt sure he would have listened; he would have deferred61 to an advocate who, speaking from abstract justice, knowing of his denial without having known Hague, should have had the imagination to say: “Ah, remember only the best of him; pity him; provide for him.”  To provide for him on the very ground of having discovered another of his turpitudes was not to pity but to glorify62 him.  The more Stransom thought the more he made out that whatever this relation of Hague’s it could only have been a deception more or less finely practised.  Where had it come into the life that all men saw?  Why had one never heard of it if it had had the frankness of honourable63 things?  Stransom knew enough of his other ties, of his obligations and appearances, not to say enough of his general character, to be sure there had been some infamy64.  In one way or another this creature had been coldly sacrificed.  That was why at the last as well as the first he must still leave him out and out.


1 solitude xF9yw     
n. 孤独; 独居,荒僻之地,幽静的地方
  • People need a chance to reflect on spiritual matters in solitude. 人们需要独处的机会来反思精神上的事情。
  • They searched for a place where they could live in solitude. 他们寻找一个可以过隐居生活的地方。
2 dealing NvjzWP     
  • This store has an excellent reputation for fair dealing.该商店因买卖公道而享有极高的声誉。
  • His fair dealing earned our confidence.他的诚实的行为获得我们的信任。
3 ascertained e6de5c3a87917771a9555db9cf4de019     
v.弄清,确定,查明( ascertain的过去式和过去分词 )
  • The previously unidentified objects have now been definitely ascertained as being satellites. 原来所说的不明飞行物现在已证实是卫星。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • I ascertained that she was dead. 我断定她已经死了。 来自《简明英汉词典》
4 withheld f9d7381abd94e53d1fbd8a4e53915ec8     
  • I withheld payment until they had fulfilled the contract. 他们履行合同后,我才付款。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • There was no school play because the principal withheld his consent. 由于校长没同意,学校里没有举行比赛。 来自《简明英汉词典》
5 perfectly 8Mzxb     
  • The witnesses were each perfectly certain of what they said.证人们个个对自己所说的话十分肯定。
  • Everything that we're doing is all perfectly above board.我们做的每件事情都是光明正大的。
6 remarkable 8Vbx6     
  • She has made remarkable headway in her writing skills.她在写作技巧方面有了长足进步。
  • These cars are remarkable for the quietness of their engines.这些汽车因发动机没有噪音而不同凡响。
7 retrospect xDeys     
  • One's school life seems happier in retrospect than in reality.学校生活回忆起来显得比实际上要快乐。
  • In retrospect,it's easy to see why we were wrong.回顾过去就很容易明白我们的错处了。
8 supreme PHqzc     
  • It was the supreme moment in his life.那是他一生中最重要的时刻。
  • He handed up the indictment to the supreme court.他把起诉书送交最高法院。
9 lame r9gzj     
  • The lame man needs a stick when he walks.那跛脚男子走路时需借助拐棍。
  • I don't believe his story.It'sounds a bit lame.我不信他讲的那一套。他的话听起来有些靠不住。
10 grotesquely grotesquely     
adv. 奇异地,荒诞地
  • Her arched eyebrows and grotesquely powdered face were at once seductive and grimly overbearing. 眉棱棱着,在一脸的怪粉上显出妖媚而霸道。 来自汉英文学 - 骆驼祥子
  • Two faces grotesquely disfigured in nylon stocking masks looked through the window. 2张戴尼龙长袜面罩的怪脸望着窗外。
11 saturated qjEzG3     
  • The continuous rain had saturated the soil. 连绵不断的雨把土地淋了个透。
  • a saturated solution of sodium chloride 氯化钠饱和溶液
12 prostration e23ec06f537750e7e1306b9c8f596399     
n. 平伏, 跪倒, 疲劳
  • a state of prostration brought on by the heat 暑热导致的虚脱状态
  • A long period of worrying led to her nervous prostration. 长期的焦虑导致她的神经衰弱。
13 sublime xhVyW     
  • We should take some time to enjoy the sublime beauty of nature.我们应该花些时间去欣赏大自然的壮丽景象。
  • Olympic games play as an important arena to exhibit the sublime idea.奥运会,就是展示此崇高理念的重要舞台。
14 torrent 7GCyH     
  • The torrent scoured a channel down the hillside. 急流沿着山坡冲出了一条沟。
  • Her pent-up anger was released in a torrent of words.她压抑的愤怒以滔滔不绝的话爆发了出来。
15 absolved 815f996821e021de405963c6074dce81     
宣告…无罪,赦免…的罪行,宽恕…的罪行( absolve的过去式和过去分词 ); 不受责难,免除责任 [义务] ,开脱(罪责)
  • The court absolved him of all responsibility for the accident. 法院宣告他对该事故不负任何责任。
  • The court absolved him of guilt in her death. 法庭赦免了他在她的死亡中所犯的罪。
16 ebb ebb     
  • The flood and ebb tides alternates with each other.涨潮和落潮交替更迭。
  • They swam till the tide began to ebb.他们一直游到开始退潮。
17 fathom w7wy3     
  • I really couldn't fathom what he was talking about.我真搞不懂他在说些什么。
  • What these people hoped to achieve is hard to fathom.这些人希望实现些什么目标难以揣测。
18 mere rC1xE     
  • That is a mere repetition of what you said before.那不过是重复了你以前讲的话。
  • It's a mere waste of time waiting any longer.再等下去纯粹是浪费时间。
19 hush ecMzv     
  • A hush fell over the onlookers.旁观者们突然静了下来。
  • Do hush up the scandal!不要把这丑事声张出去!
20 spoke XryyC     
n.(车轮的)辐条;轮辐;破坏某人的计划;阻挠某人的行动 v.讲,谈(speak的过去式);说;演说;从某种观点来说
  • They sourced the spoke nuts from our company.他们的轮辐螺帽是从我们公司获得的。
  • The spokes of a wheel are the bars that connect the outer ring to the centre.辐条是轮子上连接外圈与中心的条棒。
21 perversely 8be945d3748a381de483d070ad2ad78a     
adv. 倔强地
  • Intelligence in the mode of passion is always perversely. 受激情属性控制的智力,总是逆着活动的正确方向行事。
  • She continue, perversely, to wear shoes that damaged her feet. 她偏偏穿那双挤脚的鞋。
22 ebbed d477fde4638480e786d6ea4ac2341679     
(指潮水)退( ebb的过去式和过去分词 ); 落; 减少; 衰落
  • But the pain had ebbed away and the trembling had stopped. 不过这次痛已减退,寒战也停止了。
  • But gradually his interest in good causes ebbed away. 不过后来他对这类事业兴趣也逐渐淡薄了。
23 motive GFzxz     
  • The police could not find a motive for the murder.警察不能找到谋杀的动机。
  • He had some motive in telling this fable.他讲这寓言故事是有用意的。
24 concession LXryY     
  • We can not make heavy concession to the matter.我们在这个问题上不能过于让步。
  • That is a great concession.这是很大的让步。
25 exorbitant G7iyh     
  • More competition should help to drive down exorbitant phone charges.更多的竞争有助于降低目前畸高的电话收费。
  • The price of food here is exorbitant. 这儿的食物价格太高。
26 rupture qsyyc     
  • I can rupture a rule for a friend.我可以为朋友破一次例。
  • The rupture of a blood vessel usually cause the mark of a bruise.血管的突然破裂往往会造成外伤的痕迹。
27 interval 85kxY     
  • The interval between the two trees measures 40 feet.这两棵树的间隔是40英尺。
  • There was a long interval before he anwsered the telephone.隔了好久他才回了电话。
28 shrine 0yfw7     
  • The shrine was an object of pilgrimage.这处圣地是人们朝圣的目的地。
  • They bowed down before the shrine.他们在神龛前鞠躬示敬。
29 quenched dae604e1ea7cf81e688b2bffd9b9f2c4     
解(渴)( quench的过去式和过去分词 ); 终止(某事物); (用水)扑灭(火焰等); 将(热物体)放入水中急速冷却
  • He quenched his thirst with a long drink of cold water. 他喝了好多冷水解渴。
  • I quenched my thirst with a glass of cold beer. 我喝了一杯冰啤酒解渴。
30 indifference k8DxO     
  • I was disappointed by his indifference more than somewhat.他的漠不关心使我很失望。
  • He feigned indifference to criticism of his work.他假装毫不在意别人批评他的作品。
31 vice NU0zQ     
  • He guarded himself against vice.他避免染上坏习惯。
  • They are sunk in the depth of vice.他们堕入了罪恶的深渊。
32 deception vnWzO     
  • He admitted conspiring to obtain property by deception.他承认曾与人合谋骗取财产。
  • He was jailed for two years for fraud and deception.他因为诈骗和欺诈入狱服刑两年。
33 vindictive FL3zG     
  • I have no vindictive feelings about it.我对此没有恶意。
  • The vindictive little girl tore up her sister's papers.那个充满报复心的小女孩撕破了她姐姐的作业。
34 Forsaken Forsaken     
adj. 被遗忘的, 被抛弃的 动词forsake的过去分词
  • He was forsaken by his friends. 他被朋友们背弃了。
  • He has forsaken his wife and children. 他遗弃了他的妻子和孩子。
35 submission lUVzr     
  • The defeated general showed his submission by giving up his sword.战败将军缴剑表示投降。
  • No enemy can frighten us into submission.任何敌人的恐吓都不能使我们屈服。
36 logic j0HxI     
  • What sort of logic is that?这是什么逻辑?
  • I don't follow the logic of your argument.我不明白你的论点逻辑性何在。
37 estranged estranged     
  • He became estranged from his family after the argument.那场争吵后他便与家人疏远了。
  • The argument estranged him from his brother.争吵使他同他的兄弟之间的关系疏远了。
38 rites 5026f3cfef698ee535d713fec44bcf27     
仪式,典礼( rite的名词复数 )
  • to administer the last rites to sb 给某人举行临终圣事
  • He is interested in mystic rites and ceremonies. 他对神秘的仪式感兴趣。
39 exclusion 1hCzz     
  • Don't revise a few topics to the exclusion of all others.不要修改少数论题以致排除所有其他的。
  • He plays golf to the exclusion of all other sports.他专打高尔夫球,其他运动一概不参加。
40 plunge 228zO     
  • Test pool's water temperature before you plunge in.在你跳入之前你应该测试水温。
  • That would plunge them in the broil of the two countries.那将会使他们陷入这两国的争斗之中。
41 reminders aaaf99d0fb822f809193c02b8cf69fba     
n.令人回忆起…的东西( reminder的名词复数 );提醒…的东西;(告知该做某事的)通知单;提示信
  • The film evokes chilling reminders of the war. 这部电影使人们回忆起战争的可怕场景。
  • The strike has delayed the mailing of tax reminders. 罢工耽搁了催税单的投寄。
42 horrid arozZj     
  • I'm not going to the horrid dinner party.我不打算去参加这次讨厌的宴会。
  • The medicine is horrid and she couldn't get it down.这种药很难吃,她咽不下去。
43 intimacy z4Vxx     
  • His claims to an intimacy with the President are somewhat exaggerated.他声称自己与总统关系密切,这有点言过其实。
  • I wish there were a rule book for intimacy.我希望能有个关于亲密的规则。
44 faltered d034d50ce5a8004ff403ab402f79ec8d     
(嗓音)颤抖( falter的过去式和过去分词 ); 支吾其词; 蹒跚; 摇晃
  • He faltered out a few words. 他支吾地说出了几句。
  • "Er - but he has such a longhead!" the man faltered. 他不好意思似的嚅嗫着:“这孩子脑袋真长。”
45 omission mjcyS     
  • The omission of the girls was unfair.把女孩排除在外是不公平的。
  • The omission of this chapter from the third edition was a gross oversight.第三版漏印这一章是个大疏忽。
46 dire llUz9     
  • There were dire warnings about the dangers of watching too much TV.曾经有人就看电视太多的危害性提出严重警告。
  • We were indeed in dire straits.But we pulled through.那时我们的困难真是大极了,但是我们渡过了困难。
47 monotonous FwQyJ     
  • She thought life in the small town was monotonous.她觉得小镇上的生活单调而乏味。
  • His articles are fixed in form and monotonous in content.他的文章千篇一律,一个调调儿。
48 remonstrance bVex0     
  • She had abandoned all attempts at remonstrance with Thomas.她已经放弃了一切劝戒托马斯的尝试。
  • Mrs. Peniston was at the moment inaccessible to remonstrance.目前彭尼斯顿太太没功夫听她告状。
49 allusion CfnyW     
  • He made an allusion to a secret plan in his speech.在讲话中他暗示有一项秘密计划。
  • She made no allusion to the incident.她没有提及那个事件。
50 banish nu8zD     
  • The doctor advised her to banish fear and anxiety.医生劝她消除恐惧和忧虑。
  • He tried to banish gloom from his thought.他试图驱除心中的忧愁。
51 tormented b017cc8a8957c07bc6b20230800888d0     
  • The knowledge of his guilt tormented him. 知道了自己的罪责使他非常痛苦。
  • He had lain awake all night, tormented by jealousy. 他彻夜未眠,深受嫉妒的折磨。
52 vexed fd1a5654154eed3c0a0820ab54fb90a7     
adj.争论不休的;(指问题等)棘手的;争论不休的问题;烦恼的v.使烦恼( vex的过去式和过去分词 );使苦恼;使生气;详细讨论
  • The conference spent days discussing the vexed question of border controls. 会议花了几天的时间讨论边境关卡这个难题。
  • He was vexed at his failure. 他因失败而懊恼。 来自《现代汉英综合大词典》
53 jealousy WaRz6     
  • 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。
54 contentious fa9yk     
  • She was really not of the contentious fighting sort.她委实不是好吵好闹的人。
  • Since then they have tended to steer clear of contentious issues.从那时起,他们总想方设法避开有争议的问题。
55 exquisite zhez1     
  • I was admiring the exquisite workmanship in the mosaic.我当时正在欣赏镶嵌画的精致做工。
  • I still remember the exquisite pleasure I experienced in Bali.我依然记得在巴厘岛所经历的那种剧烈的快感。
56 vividly tebzrE     
  • The speaker pictured the suffering of the poor vividly.演讲者很生动地描述了穷人的生活。
  • The characters in the book are vividly presented.这本书里的人物写得栩栩如生。
57 prohibition 7Rqxw     
  • The prohibition against drunken driving will save many lives.禁止酒后开车将会减少许多死亡事故。
  • They voted in favour of the prohibition of smoking in public areas.他们投票赞成禁止在公共场所吸烟。
58 precisely zlWzUb     
  • It's precisely that sort of slick sales-talk that I mistrust.我不相信的正是那种油腔滑调的推销宣传。
  • The man adjusted very precisely.那个人调得很准。
59 impersonal Ck6yp     
  • Even his children found him strangely distant and impersonal.他的孩子们也认为他跟其他人很疏远,没有人情味。
  • His manner seemed rather stiff and impersonal.他的态度似乎很生硬冷淡。
60 generosity Jf8zS     
  • We should match their generosity with our own.我们应该像他们一样慷慨大方。
  • We adore them for their generosity.我们钦佩他们的慷慨。
61 deferred 43fff3df3fc0b3417c86dc3040fb2d86     
adj.延期的,缓召的v.拖延,延缓,推迟( defer的过去式和过去分词 );服从某人的意愿,遵从
  • The department deferred the decision for six months. 这个部门推迟了六个月才作决定。
  • a tax-deferred savings plan 延税储蓄计划
62 glorify MeNzm     
  • Politicians have complained that the media glorify drugs.政治家们抱怨媒体美化毒品。
  • We are all committed to serving the Lord and glorifying His name in the best way we know.我们全心全意敬奉上帝,竭尽所能颂扬他的美名。
63 honourable honourable     
  • I don't think I am worthy of such an honourable title.这样的光荣称号,我可担当不起。
  • I hope to find an honourable way of settling difficulties.我希望设法找到一个体面的办法以摆脱困境。
64 infamy j71x2     
  • They may grant you power,honour,and riches but afflict you with servitude,infamy,and poverty.他们可以给你权力、荣誉和财富,但却用奴役、耻辱和贫穷来折磨你。
  • Traitors are held in infamy.叛徒为人所不齿。


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