大家论坛

 找回密码
 注册
查看: 880|回复: 3

[阅读] 名著双语阅读红字-第八章 小鬼和牧师

[复制链接]

1万

主题

2万

帖子

16万

金币

大家网博士后

Rank: 22Rank: 22Rank: 22Rank: 22

积分
98524
发表于 2009-6-18 15:48 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式
Chapter 8


GOVERNOR BELLINGHAM, in a loose gown and easy cap- much as elderly gentlemen loved to endue themselves with, in their domestic privacy-walked foremost, and appeared to be showing off his estate, and expatiating on his projected improvements. The wide circumference of an elaborate ruff, beneath his grey beard, in the antiquated fashion of King James' reign, caused his head to look not a little like that of John the Baptist in a charger. The impression made by his aspect, so rigid and severe, and frost-bitten with more than autumnal age, was hardly in keeping with the appliances of worldly enjoyment wherewith he had evidently done his utmost to surround himself. But it is an error to suppose that our grave forefathers- though accustomed to speak and think of human existence as a state merely of trial and warfare, and though unfeignedly prepared to sacrifice goods and life at the behest of duty- made it a matter of conscience to reject such means of comfort, or even luxury, as lay fairly within their grasp. This creed was never taught, for instance, by the venerable pastor, John Wilson, whose beard, white as a snow-drift, was seen over Governor Bellingham's shoulder; while its wearer suggested that pears and peaches might yet be naturalised in the New England climate, and that purple grapes might possibly be compelled to flourish, against the sunny garden-wall. The old clergyman, nurtured at the rich bosom of the English Church, had a long-established and legitimate taste for all good and comfortable things; and however stern he might show himself in the pulpit, or in his public reproof of such transgressions as that of Hester Prynne, still, the genial benevolence of his private life had won him warmer affection than was accorded to any of his professional contemporaries.

Behind the Governor and Mr. Wilson came two other guests; one the Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale, whom the reader may remember as having taken a brief and reluctant part in the scene of Hester Prynne's disgrace; and, in close companionship with him, old Roger Chillingworth, a person of great skill in physic, who, for two or three years past, had been settled in the town. It was understood that this learned man was the physician as well as friend of the young minister, whose health had severely suffered, of late, by his too unreserved self-sacrifice to the labours and duties of the pastoral relation.

The Governor, in advance of his visitors, ascended one or two steps, and, throwing open the leaves of the great hall-window, found himself close to little Pearl. The shadow of the curtain fell on Hester Prynne, and partially concealed her.

"What have we here?" said Governor Bellingham, looking with surprise at the scarlet little figure before him. "I profess, I have never seen the like, since my days of vanity, in old King James' time, when I was wont to esteem it a high favour to be admitted to a court mask! There used to be a swarm of these small apparitions, in holiday time; and we called them children of the Lord of Misrule. But how gat such a guest into my hall?"

"Ay, indeed!" cried good old Mr. Wilson. "What little bird of scarlet plumage may this be? Methinks I have seen just such figures, when the sun has been shining through a richly painted window, and tracing out the golden and crimson images across the floor. But that was in the old land. Prithee, young one, who art thou, and what has ailed thy mother to bedizen thee in this strange fashion? Art thou a Christian child- ha? Dost know thy catechism? Or art thou one of those naughty elfs or fairies, whom we thought to have left behind us, with other relics of Papistry, in merry old England?"

"I am mother's child," answered the scarlet vision, "and my name is Pearl!"

"Pearl?- Ruby, rather!- or Coral!- or Red Rose, at the very least, judging from thy hue!" responded the old minister, putting forth his hand in a vain attempt to pat little Pearl on the cheek. "But where is this mother of thine? Ah! I see," he added; and, turning to Governor Bellingham, whispered, "This is the selfsame child of whom we have held speech together; and behold here the unhappy woman, Hester Prynne, her mother!"

"Sayest thou so?" cried the Governor. "Nay, we might have judged that such a child's mother must needs be a scarlet woman, and a worthy type of her of Babylon! But she comes at a good time; and we will look into this matter forthwith."

Governor Bellingham stepped through the window into the hall, followed by his three guests.

"Hester Prynne," said he, fixing his naturally stern regard on the wearer of the scarlet letter, "there hath been much question concerning thee, of late. The point hath been weightily discussed, whether we, that are of authority and influence, do well discharge our consciences by trusting an immortal Soul, such as there is in yonder child, to the guidance of one who hath stumbled and fallen amid the pitfalls of this world. Speak thou, the child's own mother! Were it not, thinkest thou, for thy little one's temporal and eternal welfare, that she be taken out of thy charge, and clad soberly, and disciplined strictly, and instructed in the truths of heaven and earth? What canst thou do for the child, in this kind?"

"I can teach my little Pearl what I have learned from this!" answered Hester Prynne, laying her finger on the red token.

"Woman, it is thy badge of shame!" replied the stern magistrate. "It is because of the stain which that letter indicates, that we would transfer thy child to other hands."

"Nevertheless," said the mother calmly, though growing more pale, "this badge hath taught me- it daily teaches me- it is teaching me at this moment- lessons whereof my child may be the wiser and better, albeit they can profit nothing to thyself."

"We will judge warily," said Bellingham, "and look well what we are about to do. Good Master Wilson, I pray you, examine this Pearl- since that is her name- and see whether she hath had such Christian nurture as befits a child of her age."

The old minister seated himself in an arm-chair, and made an effort to draw Pearl betwixt his knees. But the child, unaccustomed to the touch or familiarity of any but her mother, escaped through the open window, and stood on the upper step, looking like a wild tropical bird, of rich plumage, ready to take flight into the upper air. Mr.Wilson, not a little astonished at this outbreak- for he was a grandfatherly sort of personage, and usually a vast favourite with children- essayed, however, to proceed with the examination.

"Pearl," said he, with great solemnity, "thou must take heed to instruction, that so, in due season, thou mayest wear in thy bosom the pearl of great price. Canst thou tell me, my child, who made thee?"

Now Pearl knew well enough who made her; for Hester Prynne, the daughter of a pious home, very soon after her talk with the child about her Heavenly Father, had begun to inform her of those truths which the human spirit, at whatever stage of immaturity, imbibes with such eager interest. Pearl, therefore, so large were the attainments of her three years' lifetime, could have borne a fair examination in the New England Primer, or the first column of the Westminster Catechisms, although unacquainted with the outward form of either of those celebrated works. But that perversity, which all children have more or less of, and of which little Pearl had a tenfold portion, now, at the most inopportune moment, took thorough possession of her, and closed her lips, or impelled her to speak words amiss. After putting her finger in her mouth, with many ungracious refusals to answer good Mr. Wilson's question, the child finally announced that she had not been made at all, but had been plucked by her mother off the bush of wild roses that grew by the prison-door.

This fantasy was probably suggested by the near proximity of the Governor's red roses, as Pearl stood outside of the window; together with her recollection of the prison rose-bush, which she had passed in coming hither.

Old Roger Chillingworth, with a smile on his face, whispered something in the young clergyman's ear. Hester Prynne looked at the man of skill, and even then, with her fate hanging in the balance, was startled to perceive what a change had come over his features- how much uglier they were- how his dark complexion seemed to have grown duskier, and his figure more misshapen- since the days when she had familiarly known him. She met his eyes for an instant, but was immediately constrained to give all her attention to the scene now going forward.

"This is awful!" cried the Governor, slowly recovering from the astonishment into which Pearl's response had thrown him. "Here is a child of three years old, and she cannot tell who made her! Without question, she is equally in the dark as to her soul, its present depravity and future destiny! Methinks, gentlemen, we need inquire no further!"

Hester caught hold of Pearl, and drew her forcibly into her arms, confronting the old Puritan magistrate with almost a fierce expression. Alone in the world, cast off by it, and with this sole treasure to keep her heart alive, she felt that she possessed indefeasible rights against the world, and was ready to defend them to the death.
回复

使用道具 举报

1万

主题

2万

帖子

16万

金币

大家网博士后

Rank: 22Rank: 22Rank: 22Rank: 22

积分
98524
 楼主| 发表于 2009-6-18 15:48 | 显示全部楼层
第八章 小鬼和牧师


贝灵汉总督身穿一件宽大的长袍,头戴一顶上年纪的绅士居家独处时喜欢用的便帽,他走在最前面,象是在炫耀他的产业,并且论说着他正在筹划着的种种改进方案。他的灰色胡须下面,围着詹姆斯国王统治期间①那种老式的精致而宽大的环状皱领,使得他的脑袋颇有点象托盘中的洗礼者约翰②的头颅。他外貌刻板威严,再加上垂暮之年的老气横秋,由此给人的印象,与他显然竭力使自己耽于世俗享乐的措施,二者很难协调起来。我们严肃的先人们虽然习惯于嘴里这么说,而且心里也这么想,认为人类的生存无非是经受考验和斗争,并且诚心诚意地准备好一声令下即要牺牲自己的财富和生命,但如果认定他们从道义上会拒绝唾手可得的享乐或奢侈,那可就大错特错了。例如,可尊可敬的约翰·威尔逊牧师,就从来没有宣讲过这一信条。此时他正跟在贝灵汉总督的身后,越过总督的肩膀,可以看见他的雪白的胡须。他建议说,梨和桃可以在新英格兰的气候中驯化,而紫葡萄也可能靠在日照的园墙上得以繁茂地生长。这位在英国教会的丰满乳汁中养育出来的老牧师,早已对一切美好舒适的东西怀有合法的嗜好;而且,无论他在布道坛上或是在公开谴责海丝特·白兰的罪名时显得多么声色惧厉,但他在私生活上的温和宽厚为他赢得的热爱之情,是胜过他的同辈神职人员的。

随在总督和威尔逊先生身后走来的,是另外两名客人:一位就是大家记得在海丝特·白兰示众的场面中短短地扮演了一个不情愿的角色的阿瑟·丁梅斯代尔牧师;另一位紧紧伴着他的是老罗杰·齐灵渥斯,这位精通医术的人已经在镇上定居了两三年了。由于年轻的牧师在教会事务上过于不遗余力地尽职尽责,自我牺牲,最近健康状况严重受损,因此,学者成为他的医生和朋友,也就可以理解了。

走在客人前面的总督,踏上一两级台阶,打开了大厅的窗户,发现了眼前的小珠儿。但窗帘的阴影罩住了海丝特·白兰,遮往了她的部分身形。

“我们这儿有个什么呀?”贝灵汉总督吃惊地望着眼前这个鲜红的小人儿,说道。“我敢说,自从我在老王詹姆斯时代荣获恩宠,时常被召进宫中参加假面舞会、大出风头的岁月以来,我还从来没见过这样的小家伙呢。那时候,每逢节日,常有成群的这种小精灵,我们都把他们叫作司戏者③的孩子。可这样一位客人怎么会跑到我的大厅里来了?”

“叹,真的!”好心肠的威尔逊老先生叫道。“长着这么鲜红羽毛的会是什么小鸟呢?我想,当阳光穿过五彩绘就的窗户、在地板上反射出金黄和绯红的形象时,我看到过这样子的人物。可那是在故乡本土的。请问你,小家伙,你是谁呀?你母亲为什么把你打扮成这副怪模样啊?你是基督徒的孩子吗,啊?你懂得《教义问答手册》吗?也许,你是那种调皮的小妖精或小仙女吧?我们还以为,连同罗马天主教的其它遗物,全都给留在快乐的老英格兰了呢。”

“我是我妈妈的孩子,”那鲜红的幻象回答说,“我叫珠儿!”

“珠儿?——还不如叫红宝石呢!——要不就叫红珊瑚!——要不就叫红玫瑰,从你的颜色来看,这可是最起码的呢!”老牧师答应着,伸出一只手,想拍拍小珠儿的脸蛋,可是没成功。“可你的妈妈在哪儿呢?啊!我明白了,”他又补充了一句;然后转向贝灵汉总督,悄悄说;“这就是我们一起议论过的那个孩子,往这儿瞧,那个不幸的女人,海丝特·白兰,就是她母亲!”

“你是这么说的吗?”总督叫道。“不,我们满可以判断,这样一个孩子的母亲,应该是一个鲜红色的女人,而且要当之无愧是个巴比伦式的女人④。不过,她来得正好!我们就来办办这件事吧。”

贝灵汉总督跨过窗户,步入大厅,后面跟着他的三位客人。

“海丝特·白兰,”他说着,把生来严峻的目光盯住这戴红字的女人,“最近,关于你的事议论得不少。我们已经郑重地讨论过,把一个不朽的灵魂,比如说那边那孩子,交付给一个跌进现世的陷阱中的人来指导,我们这些有权势的人能够心安理得吗?你说吧,孩子的母亲!你想一想吧,要是把她从你身边带走,让她穿上朴素的衣服,受到严格的训练,学会天上和人间的真理,是不是对这小家伙的目前和长远利益有好处呢?在这方面,你又能为这孩子做些什么呢?”

“我能教我的小珠儿我从这里学到的东西!”海丝特·白兰把手指放到那红色标志上回答。

“女人,那是你的耻辱牌啊!”那严厉的官老爷回答道。“正是因为那字母所指明的污点,我们才要把你的孩子交给别人。”

“可是,”母亲平静地说,不过面色益发苍白了,“这个牌牌已经教会了我——它每日每时都在教育我,此时此刻也正在教育我,我要接受教训,让我的孩子可以变得更聪明。更美好,尽管这一切对我本人已毫无好处了。”

“我们会做出慎重的判断的,”贝灵汉说,“而且也会认真考虑我们即将果取的措施的。善良的威尔逊先生,我请求你检查一下这个珠儿——我们权且这么叫她吧——看看她具备不具备这个年龄的孩子应受的基督徒教养。”

老牧师在一张安乐椅中就坐之后,想把珠儿拉到他的膝间。但那孩子除去她母亲之外还不习惯别人的亲热,立即穿过敞开的窗户逃了出去,站在最高一层的台阶上,象一只长着斑斓羽毛的热带鸟儿似的,随时准备飞上天空,逃之天天。威尔逊先生对这一反抗举动颇为吃惊——因为他是老爷爷般的人物,通常极受孩子们的喜爱——但他仍继续他的测验。

“珠儿,”他郑重其事地说,“你应当留心听取教诲,这样,到时候你才可能在胸前佩戴价值连城的珠宝。你能不能告诉我,我的孩子,是谁造出了你?”

如今珠儿十分清楚是谁造出了她,因为海丝特·白兰是个出身于虔诚教徒家庭的女儿,在同孩子谈过她的天父之后不久,就开始向她灌输那些真理,而一个人的心灵哪怕再不成熟,都会以热烈的兴趣来吸取这些真理的。因此,珠儿虽然年仅三岁,却已颇有造诣,完全经得起《新英格兰入门》或《西敏寺教义问答手册》初阶的测验,尽管她连这两部名著是什么样子都不知道。但一舷孩子多少都有的那种任性,小珠儿本来就甚于别的儿童十倍,而在目前这最不合时宜的当儿,更是彻底地支配了她:她不是闭口不言,就是给逼得说岔了。这孩子把手指放到嘴里,对好心肠的成尔逊先生的问题,一再粗野地拒不回答,最后居然宣称她根本不是造出来的,面是她妈妈从长在牢门边的野玫瑰丛中采下来的。

大概是由于珠儿正站在窗边,附近就有总督的红玫瑰,再加上她想起来时走过狱前见到的玫瑰丛,就受到启示,生出了这样一种奇思异想,

老罗杰·齐灵渥斯面带微笑,对着年轻牧师耳语了几句。海丝特·白兰望着这位医生,即使此刻对她命运仪关,也还是惊讶地发现,他的外貌发生了多么大的变化——自从她熟悉他的时候以来,他的黑皮肤变得益发晦暗,他的身体益发畸形了。她积他的目光接触了瞬间,立即便把全部注意力集中在眼前正在进行的场面中去了。

“这太可怕了!”总督叫着,渐渐从珠儿的应答所带给他的震惊中恢复过来。“这是个三岁的孩子,可她根本说不出是谁造出了她!毫无疑问,她对自己的灵魂,对目前的堕落,对未来的命运,全然一无所知!依我看,诸位先生,我们无需再问了。”海丝特抓住珠儿,强把她拉进自己的怀里,面对着那几乎是满险凶相的清教徒长官。她被这个世界所抛弃,只剩下孤身一人,只有这一件珍宝才能维持她心灵的生存,她感到她有不可剥夺的权利来对抗这个世界,而且准备好维护自己的权利一直到死。
回复 支持 反对

使用道具 举报

1万

主题

2万

帖子

16万

金币

大家网博士后

Rank: 22Rank: 22Rank: 22Rank: 22

积分
98524
 楼主| 发表于 2009-6-18 15:48 | 显示全部楼层
"God gave me the child!" cried she. "He gave her in requital of all things else, which ye had taken from me. She is my happiness!- she is my torture, none the less! Pearl keeps me here in life! Pearl punishes me too! See ye not, she is the scarlet letter, only capable of being loved, and so endowed with a millionfold the power of retribution for my sin? Ye shall not take her! I will die first!"

"My poor woman," said the not unkind old minister, "the child shall be well cared for!- far better than thou canst do it!"

"God gave her into my keeping," repeated Hester Prynne, raising her voice almost to a shriek. "I will not give her up!"- And here, by a sudden impulse, she turned to the young clergyman, Mr. Dimmesdale, at whom, up to this moment, she had seemed hardly so much as once to direct her eyes.- "Speak thou for me!" cried she. "Thou wast my pastor, and hadst charge of my soul, and knowest me better than these men can. I will not lose the child! Speak for me! Thou knowest- for thou hast sympathies which these men lack- thou knowest what is in my heart, and what are a mother's rights, and how much the stronger they are, when that mother has but her child and the scarlet letter! Look thou to it! I will not lose the child! Look to it!"

At this wild and singular appeal, which indicated that Hester Prynne's situation had provoked her to little less than madness, the young minister at once came forward, pale, and holding his hand over his heart, as was his custom whenever his peculiarly nervous temperament was thrown into agitation. He looked now more careworn and emaciated than as we described him at the scene of Hester's public ignominy; and whether it were his failing health, or whatever the cause might be, his large dark eyes had a world of pain in their troubled and melancholy depth.

"There is truth in what she says," began the minister, with a voice sweet, tremulous, but powerful, insomuch that the hall re-echoed, and the hollow armour rang with it- "truth in what Hester says, and in the feeling which inspires her! God gave her the child, and gave her, too, an instinctive knowledge of its nature and requirements- both seemingly so peculiar- which no other mortal being can possess. And, moreover, is there not a quality of awful sacredness in the relation between this mother and this child?"

"Ay!- how is that, good Master Dimmesdale?" interrupted the Governor. "Make that plain, I pray you!"

"It must be even so," resumed the minister. "For, if we deem it otherwise, do we not thereby say that the Heavenly Father, the Creator of all flesh, hath lightly recognised a deed of sin, and made of no account the distinction between unhallowed lust and holy love? This child of its father's guilt and its mother's shame hath come from the hand of God, to work in many ways upon her heart, who pleads so earnestly, and with such bitterness of spirit, the right to keep her. It was meant for a blessing; for the one blessing of her life! It was meant, doubtless, as the mother herself hath told us, for a retribution too; a torture to be felt at many an unthought-of moment; a pang, a sting, an ever-recurring agony, in the midst of a troubled joy! Hath she not expressed this thought in the garb of the poor child, so forcibly reminding us of that red symbol which sears her bosom?"

"Well said again!" cried good Mr. Wilson. "I feared the woman had no better thought than to make a mountebank of her child!"

"Oh, not so!- not so!" continued Mr. Dimmesdale. "She recognises, believe me, the solemn miracle which God hath wrought, in the existence of that child. And may she feel, too- what, methinks, is the very truth- that this boon was meant, above all things else, to keep the mother's soul alive, and to preserve her from blacker depths of sin into which Satan might else have sought to plunge her! Therefore it is good for this poor, sinful woman that she hath an infant immortality, a being capable of eternal joy or sorrow, confided to her care- to be trained up by her to righteousness- to remind her, at every moment, of her fall- but yet to teach her, as it were by the Creator's sacred pledge, that, if she bring the child to heaven, the child also will bring its parent thither! Herein is the sinful mother happier than the sinful father. For Hester Prynne's sake, then, and no less for the poor child's sake, let us leave them as Providence hath seen fit to place them!"

"You speak, my friend, with a strange earnestness," said old Roger Chillingworth, smiling at him.

"And there is a weighty import in what my young brother hath spoken," added the Reverend Mr. Wilson. "What say you, worshipful Master Bellingham? Hath he not pleaded well for the poor woman?"

"Indeed hath he," answered the magistrate, "and hath adduced such arguments, that we will even leave the matter as it now stands; so long, at least, as there shall be no further scandal in the woman. Care must be had, nevertheless, to put the child to due and stated examination in the catechism, at thy hands or Master Dimmesdale's. Moreover, at a proper season, the tithing-men must take heed that she go both to school and to meeting."

The young minister, on ceasing to speak, had withdrawn a few steps from the group, and stood with his face partially concealed in the heavy folds of the window-curtain; while the shadow of his figure, which the sunlight cast upon the floor, was tremulous with the vehemence of his appeal. Pearl, that wild and flighty little elf, stole softly towards him, and taking his hand in the grasp of both her own, laid her cheek against it; a caress so tender, and withal so unobtrusive, that her mother, who was looking on, asked herself, "Is that my Pearl?" Yet she knew that there was love in the child's heart, although it mostly revealed itself in passion, and hardly twice in her lifetime had been softened by such gentleness as now. The minister- for, save the long-sought regards of woman, nothing is sweeter than these marks of childish preference, accorded spontaneously by a spiritual instinct, and therefore seeming to imply in us something truly worthy to be loved- the minister looked round, laid his hand on the child's head, hesitated an instant, and then kissed her brow. Little Pearl's unwonted mood of sentiment lasted no longer; she laughed, and went capering down the hall, so airily, that old Mr. Wilson raised a question whether even her tiptoes touched the floor.

"The little baggage had witchcraft in her, I profess," said he to Mr. Dimmesdale. "She needs no old woman's broomstick to fly withal!"

"A strange child!" remarked old Roger Chillingworth. "It is easy to see the mother's part in her. Would it be beyond a philosopher's research, think ye, gentlemen, to analyse that child's nature, and, from its make and mould, to give a shrewd guess at the father?"

"Nay; it would be sinful, in such a question, to follow the clew of profane philosophy," said Mr. Wilson. "Better to fast and pray upon it; and still better, it may be, to leave the mystery as we find it, unless Providence reveal it of its own accord. Thereby, every good Christian man hath a title to show a father's kindness towards the poor, deserted babe."

The affair being so satisfactorily concluded, Hester Prynne, with Pearl, departed from the house. As they descended the steps, it is averred that the lattice of a chamber-window was thrown open, and forth into the sunny day was thrust the face of Mistress Hibbins, Governor Bellingham's bitter-tempered sister, and the same who, a few years later, was executed as a witch.

"Hist, hist!" said she, while her ill-omened physiognomy seemed to cast a shadow over the cheerful newness of the house. "Wilt thou go with us to-night? There will be a merry company in the forest; and I well-nigh promised the Black Man that comely Hester Prynne should make one."

"Make my excuse to him, so please you!" answered Hester, with a triumphant smile. "I must tarry at home, and keep watch over my little Pearl. Had they taken her from me, I would willingly have gone with thee into the forest, and signed my name in the Black Man's book too, and that with mine own blood!"

"We shall have thee there anon!" said the witch-lady, frowning, as she drew back her head.

But here- if we suppose this interview betwixt Mistress Hibbins and Hester Prynne to be authentic, and not a parable- was already an illustration of the young minister's argument against sundering the relation of a fallen mother to the offspring of her frailty. Even thus early had the child saved her from Satan's snare.
回复 支持 反对

使用道具 举报

1万

主题

2万

帖子

16万

金币

大家网博士后

Rank: 22Rank: 22Rank: 22Rank: 22

积分
98524
 楼主| 发表于 2009-6-18 15:48 | 显示全部楼层
“上帝给了我这个孩子!”她大声说道。“他把她给了我是为了补偿你们从我手中夺走的一切。她是我的幸福!——也分毫不爽地是我的拆磨!是珠儿叫我还活在世上!也是珠儿叫我受着惩罚!你们看见没有?她就是红字,只不过能够受到喜爱,因此也具有千万倍的力量来报应我的罪孽!你们带不走她!我情愿先死给你们看!”

“我可怜的女人,”那不无慈悲的老牧师说,“这孩子会受到很好的照顾的!——远比你能办到的要强。”   

“上帝把这孩子交给了我来抚养,”海丝特·白兰重复说,嗓音大得简直象喊叫了。“我绝不会放弃她的!”说到这里,她突然一阵冲动,转向了年轻的牧师丁梅斯代尔先生,此前她简直始终没有正眼看过他。“你来替我说一句话嘛!”她说。“你原来是我的牧师,曾经对我的灵魂负责,你比这些人更了解我。我不能失去这个孩子!替我说句话吧!你了解我——而且你还具有这些人所缺乏的同情心!你了解我心里的想法,也了解一个母亲的权利,而当那位母亲只有她的孩子和红字的时候,这种权利就更烟强烈!请你关注一下吧!我绝不会失去这个孩子的!关注一下吧!”

这种狂野独特独特的吁请,意味着海丝特·白兰的处境已经把她快逼疯了。于是,那年轻的牧师马上走上前来,他面色苍氏一只手捂住心口——只要他那古怪的神经质一发作,他就会做出这个习惯的动作。他此时的样子,比起上次海丝特示众时我们所描绘的,还要疲惫和憔悴;不管是由于他那每况愈下的健康状况,抑或其它什么原因,他那双又大又黑的眼睛的深处,在烦恼和忧郁之中还有一个痛苦的天地。

“她所说的确有道理,”年轻的牧师开口说,他那甜蜜柔和的嗓音虽然微微发颤,却强劲有力地在大厅中回荡着,直震得那空壳铠中部随之轰鸣,“她的话确有道理,鼓舞她的感情也没有错!上帝赐给了她这个孩子,也就赋予了她了解孩子天性和需求的本能——而这孩子的天性和需求看来又是如此与众不同——她作母亲的这种本能别人是不可能具备的。何况,在她们的母女关系之中难道没有一种令人敬畏的神圣之处吗?”

“喂!——这是怎么讲,善良的丁梅斯代尔先生?”总督接口说。“我请你把话说得明白些!”

“尤其是,”年轻牧师接着说,“如果我们换一个角度来看待这件事,我们岂不是说,那创造了一切肉体的天父,只是随便地承认了一次罪行,而对亵渎的淫秽和神圣的爱情之间毫不加以区别吗?这孩子是她父亲的罪孽和她母亲的耻辱的产物,但却来自上帝之手,面上帝要通过许多方式来感化做母亲的心灵,因此她才这么诚挚地、怀着这么痛苦的精神来祈求养育孩子的极利。她是在祈求祝福,向赐于孩子生命的上帝祈求祝福!毫无疑问,诚如这母亲自己对我们所说,她也是在祈求一种报应;她在祈求一种折磨,让她在意想不到的许多时刻体会到这种折磨;她在祈求一阵剧痛,一下刺扎,一种时时复发的、纠缠着她的快乐的痛楚!在这可怜的孩子的衣服上,她不是表达了她的这种想法吗?这身衣服不是有力地提醒我们那烙进她胸口的红色象征吗?”

“还是你说得高明I”好心肠的威尔逊先生叫道。“我本来担心这女人除去拿她的孩子装幌子再也没有更好的想法呢!”

“噢,并非如此!——并非如此!”丁梅斯代尔先生继续说。“请相信我,她已经认识到了上帝在这个孩子的存在上所创造的神圣的奇迹。而且她可能也感受到了——我想恰恰如此——上帝赐给她这个孩子,尤其意味着,要保持母亲的灵魂的活力,防止她陷入罪恶的更黑暗的深渊,否则撒旦还会设法诱惑她的!因此,给这个可怜而有罪的女人留下一个不朽助婴儿,一个可能带来永恒的欢乐或悲伤的生命,对她会大有好处;让她去抚养孩子,让她培养孩子走上正路,这样才能随时提醒她记着自己的堕落;因为这也是对造物主的神圣誓言,同时教育她,如果她能把孩子送上天国,那么孩子也就能把她带到天国!就此而论,有罪的母亲可要比那有罪的父亲有幸。因此,为了海丝特·白兰,也同样为这可怜的孩子的缘故,我们还是按照天意对她们的安排,不去管她们吧!”

“我的朋友,你讲这番话,真是诚挚得出奇呢,”老罗杰·齐灵温斯对他笑着说。

“而且,我这年轻兄弟的话里的重要意义还满有分量呢,”威尔逊牧师先生补充说。“你怎么看,尊敬的贝灵汉老爷?他为这可怜的女人所作的请求满好吧?”

“确实不错,”那长官回答,“并且还引证了这些论据,我们只好让事情依旧如此喽,至少,只要没有人说这女人的闲话就行。不过,我们还是要认真,对这孩子要按时进行《教义问答手册》的正式考核,这事就交给你和丁梅斯代尔先生吧。再有,到了适当时候,耍让十户长注意送她上学校和做礼拜。”

那年轻的牧师说完话之后,便离开人群,后退几步,让窗帘厚厚的褶襞住了他部分面孔;而阳光在地板上照出的他的身影,还在由于刚才激昂的呼吁面颤抖。珠儿那野性子的轻灵小鬼,轻手轻脚地偷偷溜到他身旁,用双手握住他的手,还把小脸贴在上面;那抚爱是那么温柔,而且还那么从容,使得在一旁看着的海丝特不禁自问:“那是我的珠儿吗?”然而她明白,这孩子的心中是有着爱的,不过这种爱通常是以激情的形式来表达的;她生来恐怕还没有第二次这样温文尔雅呢。而牧师呢——除去追寻已久的女性的关心之外,再没有这种孩子气的爱的表示更为甜蜜的了,由于这种爱发自精神本能,因此似乎是在暗示着,我们身上确实具有一些值得一爱的东西——此时他环顾四周,将一只手放在孩子的头上,迟疑了一会儿,然后吻了她的额头。小珠儿这种不寻常的温情脉脉到此为止,她放声笑着,朝大厅另一头轻捷地蹦跳而去,威尔逊老先生甚至怀疑,她的脚尖是否触到了地板。

“这小姑娘准是有魔法附体,我敢说,”他对丁梅斯代尔先生说。“她根本用不着老女巫的笤帚就能飞行!”“没见过这样的孩子!”老罗杰·齐灵渥斯评论说。“很容易在她身上看出她母亲的素质。先生们,请你们想一想,耍分析这孩子的天性,要根据她的体态和气质来对她的父亲作出聪明的猜测,是不是超出了哲学家的研究范畴了呢?”

“不;在这样一个问题上,要追踪非宗教的哲学的暗示,是罪过的,”威尔逊先生说。“最好还是靠斋戒和祈祷来解决吧;而最好的办法可能莫过于,留着这宗秘密不去管它,听凭天意自然地揭示好了。这样,每一个信奉基督的好男人,便都有权对这可怜的被遗弃的孩子,表示奖爱了。”

这件事就此圆满地解决了,海丝特·白兰便带着珠儿离开了宅邸。在她们走下台阶的时候,据信有一间小屋的格子窗给打开了,西宾斯太大把头探出来,伸到阳光下,她是贝灵汉总督的姐姐,脾气古怪刻毒,就是她,在若干年之后,作为女巫面被处决了。

“喂,喂!”她说,她那不祥的外貌象是给这座住宅的欣欣向荣的气氛投上了一层阴影。“你们今晚愿意同我们一道去吗?树林里要举行一次联欢,我已经答应过那黑男人,海丝特·白兰要来参加呢。”

“请你替我向他抱歉吧!”海丝特带着凯旋的笑容回答说。“我得呆在家里,照顾好我的小珠儿。要是他们把她从我手中夺走,我也许会心甘情愿地跟你到树林里去,在黑男人的名册上也签上我的名字,而且还要用我的鲜血来签呢!”

“我们下一次再在那儿见吧!”那巫婆皱着眉头说罢,就缩回了脑袋。

如果我们假定,西宾斯太大和海丝特·白兰之间的这次谋面有根有据而并非比拟象征的话,那么,年轻牧师反对拆散一个堕落的母亲和因她的脆弱而诞生的女儿的论点,就已经得到了证明:这孩子早在此时就已挽救了她免坠撒旦的陷阱。

①指詹姆斯一世,斯图亚特王朝的国王,1567年起为苏格兰壬,16O3年继伊丽莎白女王统治英国,

②《新约·马太福音》言,赦洛提王氏寿,以施洗礼着约翰之头盛于盘中,赏给舞姬汲莎罗美。

③l5和16世纪时圣诞节联欢活动中,招定监督嬉闹游戏的官员。

④《新约·启示录》云,巴比伦的卖淫妇身穿紫红色衣服。
回复 支持 反对

使用道具 举报

您需要登录后才可以回帖 登录 | 注册

本版积分规则



诚聘英才|移动端|Archiver|版权声明|大家论坛 ( 京ICP备06071611号,京公网安备11010802018363号 )

GMT+8, 2020-11-25 22:48 , Processed in 0.236402 second(s), 7 queries , Redis On.

Powered by Discuz!

© Comsenz Inc.

快速回复 返回顶部 返回列表