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马丁・伊登(MARTIN EDEN)第三章

发表时间:2022-07-06  

As Martin Eden went down the steps, his hand dropped into his coat pocket. It came out with a brown rice paper and a pinch of Mexican tobacco, which were deftly rolled together into a cigarette. He drew the first whiff of smoke deep into his lungs and expelled it in a long and lingering exhalation. "By God!" he said aloud, in a voice of awe and wonder. "By God!" he repeated. And yet again he murmured, "By God!" Then his hand went to his collar, which he ripped out of the shirt and stuffed into his pocket. A cold drizzle was falling, but he bared his head to it and unbuttoned his vest, swinging along in splendid unconcern. He was only dimly aware that it was raining. He was in an ecstasy, dreaming dreams and reconstructing the scenes just past.

He had met the woman at last - the woman that he had thought little about, not being given to thinking about women, but whom he had expected, in a remote way, he would sometime meet. He had sat next to her at table. He had felt her hand in his, he had looked into her eyes and caught a vision of a beautiful spirit; - but no more beautiful than the eyes through which it shone, nor than the flesh that gave it expression and form. He did not think of her flesh as flesh, - which was new to him; for of the women he had known that was the only way he thought. Her flesh was somehow different. He did not conceive of her body as a body, subject to the ills and frailties of bodies. Her body was more than the garb of her spirit. It was an emanation of her spirit, a pure and gracious crystallization of her divine essence. This feeling of the divine startled him. It shocked him from his dreams to sober thought. No word, no clew, no hint, of the divine had ever reached him before. He had never believed in the divine. He had always been irreligious, scoffing good-naturedly at the sky-pilots and their immortality of the soul. There was no life beyond, he had contended; it was here and now, then darkness everlasting. But what he had seen in her eyes was soul - immortal soul that could never die. No man he had known, nor any woman, had given him the message of immortality. But she had. She had whispered it to him the first moment she looked at him. Her face shimmered before his eyes as he walked along, - pale and serious, sweet and sensitive, smiling with pity and tenderness as only a spirit could smile, and pure as he had never dreamed purity could be. Her purity smote him like a blow. It startled him. He had known good and bad; but purity, as an attribute of existence, had never entered his mind. And now, in her, he conceived purity to be the superlative of goodness and of cleanness, the sum of which constituted eternal life.

And promptly urged his ambition to grasp at eternal life. He was not fit to carry water for her - he knew that; it was a miracle of luck and a fantastic stroke that had enabled him to see her and be with her and talk with her that night. It was accidental. There was no merit in it. He did not deserve such fortune. His mood was essentially religious. He was humble and meek, filled with self- disparagement and abasement. In such frame of mind sinners come to the penitent form. He was convicted of sin. But as the meek and lowly at the penitent form catch splendid glimpses of their future lordly existence, so did he catch similar glimpses of the state he would gain to by possessing her. But this possession of her was dim and nebulous and totally different from possession as he had known it. Ambition soared on mad wings, and he saw himself climbing the heights with her, sharing thoughts with her, pleasuring in beautiful and noble things with her. It was a soul- possession he dreamed, refined beyond any grossness, a free comradeship of spirit that he could not put into definite thought. He did not think it. For that matter, he did not think at all. Sensation usurped reason, and he was quivering and palpitant with emotions he had never known, drifting deliciously on a sea of sensibility where feeling itself was exalted and spiritualized and carried beyond the summits of life.

He staggered along like a drunken man, murmuring fervently aloud: "By God! By God!"

A policeman on a street corner eyed him suspiciously, then noted his sailor roll.

"Where did you get it?" the policeman demanded.

Martin Eden came back to earth. His was a fluid organism, swiftly adjustable, capable of flowing into and filling all sorts of nooks and crannies. With the policeman's hail he was immediately his ordinary self, grasping the situation clearly.

"It's a beaut, ain't it?" he laughed back. "I didn't know I was talkin' out loud."

"You'll be singing next," was the policeman's diagnosis.

"No, I won't. Gimme a match an' I'll catch the next car home."

He lighted his cigarette, said good night, and went on. "Now wouldn't that rattle you?" he ejaculated under his breath. "That copper thought I was drunk." He smiled to himself and meditated. "I guess I was," he added; "but I didn't think a woman's face'd do it."

He caught a Telegraph Avenue car that was going to Berkeley. It was crowded with youths and young men who were singing songs and ever and again barking out college yells. He studied them curiously. They were university boys. They went to the same university that she did, were in her class socially, could know her, could see her every day if they wanted to. He wondered that they did not want to, that they had been out having a good time instead of being with her that evening, talking with her, sitting around her in a worshipful and adoring circle. His thoughts wandered on. He noticed one with narrow-slitted eyes and a loose- lipped mouth. That fellow was vicious, he decided. On shipboard he would be a sneak, a whiner, a tattler. He, Martin Eden, was a better man than that fellow. The thought cheered him. It seemed to draw him nearer to Her. He began comparing himself with the students. He grew conscious of the muscled mechanism of his body and felt confident that he was physically their master. But their heads were filled with knowledge that enabled them to talk her talk, - the thought depressed him. But what was a brain for? he demanded passionately. What they had done, he could do. They had been studying about life from the books while he had been busy living life. His brain was just as full of knowledge as theirs, though it was a different kind of knowledge. How many of them could tie a lanyard knot, or take a wheel or a lookout? His life spread out before him in a series of pictures of danger and daring, hardship and toil. He remembered his failures and scrapes in the process of learning. He was that much to the good, anyway. Later on they would have to begin living life and going through the mill as he had gone. Very well. While they were busy with that, he could be learning the other side of life from the books.

As the car crossed the zone of scattered dwellings that separated Oakland from Berkeley, he kept a lookout for a familiar, two-story building along the front of which ran the proud sign, HIGGINBOTHAM'S CASH STORE. Martin Eden got off at this corner. He stared up for a moment at the sign. It carried a message to him beyond its mere wording. A personality of smallness and egotism and petty underhandedness seemed to emanate from the letters themselves. Bernard Higginbotham had married his sister, and he knew him well. He let himself in with a latch-key and climbed the stairs to the second floor. Here lived his brother-in-law. The grocery was below. There was a smell of stale vegetables in the air. As he groped his way across the hall he stumbled over a toy- cart, left there by one of his numerous nephews and nieces, and brought up against a door with a resounding bang. "The pincher," was his thought; "too miserly to burn two cents' worth of gas and save his boarders' necks."

He fumbled for the knob and entered a lighted room, where sat his sister and Bernard Higginbotham. She was patching a pair of his trousers, while his lean body was distributed over two chairs, his feet dangling in dilapidated carpet-slippers over the edge of the second chair. He glanced across the top of the paper he was reading, showing a pair of dark, insincere, sharp-staring eyes. Martin Eden never looked at him without experiencing a sense of repulsion. What his sister had seen in the man was beyond him. The other affected him as so much vermin, and always aroused in him an impulse to crush him under his foot. "Some day I'll beat the face off of him," was the way he often consoled himself for enduring the man's existence. The eyes, weasel-like and cruel, were looking at him complainingly.

"Well," Martin demanded. "Out with it."

"I had that door painted only last week," Mr. Higginbotham half whined, half bullied; "and you know what union wages are. You should be more careful."

Martin had intended to reply, but he was struck by the hopelessness of it. He gazed across the monstrous sordidness of soul to a chromo on the wall. It surprised him. He had always liked it, but it seemed that now he was seeing it for the first time. It was cheap, that was what it was, like everything else in this house. His mind went back to the house he had just left, and he saw, first, the paintings, and next, Her, looking at him with melting sweetness as she shook his hand at leaving. He forgot where he was and Bernard Higginbotham's existence, till that gentleman demanded:-

"Seen a ghost?"

Martin came back and looked at the beady eyes, sneering, truculent, cowardly, and there leaped into his vision, as on a screen, the same eyes when their owner was making a sale in the store below - subservient eyes, smug, and oily, and flattering.

"Yes," Martin answered. "I seen a ghost. Good night. Good night, Gertrude."

He started to leave the room, tripping over a loose seam in the slatternly carpet.

"Don't bang the door," Mr. Higginbotham cautioned him.

He felt the blood crawl in his veins, but controlled himself and closed the door softly behind him.

Mr. Higginbotham looked at his wife exultantly.

"He's ben drinkin'," he proclaimed in a hoarse whisper. "I told you he would."

She nodded her head resignedly.

"His eyes was pretty shiny," she confessed; "and he didn't have no collar, though he went away with one. But mebbe he didn't have more'n a couple of glasses."

"He couldn't stand up straight," asserted her husband. "I watched him. He couldn't walk across the floor without stumblin'. You heard 'm yourself almost fall down in the hall."

"I think it was over Alice's cart," she said. "He couldn't see it in the dark."

Mr. Higginbotham's voice and wrath began to rise. All day he effaced himself in the store, reserving for the evening, with his family, the privilege of being himself.

"I tell you that precious brother of yours was drunk."

His voice was cold, sharp, and final, his lips stamping the enunciation of each word like the die of a machine. His wife sighed and remained silent. She was a large, stout woman, always dressed slatternly and always tired from the burdens of her flesh, her work, and her husband.

"He's got it in him, I tell you, from his father," Mr. Higginbotham went on accusingly. "An' he'll croak in the gutter the same way. You know that."

She nodded, sighed, and went on stitching. They were agreed that Martin had come home drunk. They did not have it in their souls to know beauty, or they would have known that those shining eyes and that glowing face betokened youth's first vision of love.

"Settin' a fine example to the children," Mr. Higginbotham snorted, suddenly, in the silence for which his wife was responsible and which he resented. Sometimes he almost wished she would oppose him more. "If he does it again, he's got to get out. Understand! I won't put up with his shinanigan - debotchin' innocent children with his boozing." Mr. Higginbotham liked the word, which was a new one in his vocabulary, recently gleaned from a newspaper column. "That's what it is, debotchin' - there ain't no other name for it."

Still his wife sighed, shook her head sorrowfully, and stitched on. Mr. Higginbotham resumed the newspaper.

"Has he paid last week's board?" he shot across the top of the newspaper.

She nodded, then added, "He still has some money."

"When is he goin' to sea again?"

"When his pay-day's spent, I guess," she answered. "He was over to San Francisco yesterday looking for a ship. But he's got money, yet, an' he's particular about the kind of ship he signs for."

"It's not for a deck-swab like him to put on airs," Mr. Higginbotham snorted. "Particular! Him!"

"He said something about a schooner that's gettin' ready to go off to some outlandish place to look for buried treasure, that he'd sail on her if his money held out."

"If he only wanted to steady down, I'd give him a job drivin' the wagon," her husband said, but with no trace of benevolence in his voice. "Tom's quit."

His wife looked alarm and interrogation.

"Quit to-night. Is goin' to work for Carruthers. They paid 'm more'n I could afford."

"I told you you'd lose 'm," she cried out. "He was worth more'n you was giving him."

"Now look here, old woman," Higginbotham bullied, "for the thousandth time I've told you to keep your nose out of the business. I won't tell you again."

"I don't care," she sniffled. "Tom was a good boy." Her husband glared at her. This was unqualified defiance.

"If that brother of yours was worth his salt, he could take the wagon," he snorted.

"He pays his board, just the same," was the retort. "An' he's my brother, an' so long as he don't owe you money you've got no right to be jumping on him all the time. I've got some feelings, if I have been married to you for seven years."

"Did you tell 'm you'd charge him for gas if he goes on readin' in bed?" he demanded.

Mrs. Higginbotham made no reply. Her revolt faded away, her spirit wilting down into her tired flesh. Her husband was triumphant. He had her. His eyes snapped vindictively, while his ears joyed in the sniffles she emitted. He extracted great happiness from squelching her, and she squelched easily these days, though it had been different in the first years of their married life, before the brood of children and his incessant nagging had sapped her energy.

"Well, you tell 'm to-morrow, that's all," he said. "An' I just want to tell you, before I forget it, that you'd better send for Marian to-morrow to take care of the children. With Tom quit, I'll have to be out on the wagon, an' you can make up your mind to it to be down below waitin' on the counter."

"But to-morrow's wash day," she objected weakly.

"Get up early, then, an' do it first. I won't start out till ten o'clock."

He crinkled the paper viciously and resumed his reading.

马丁下楼时把手伸进外衣口袋,取出了一张褐色的稻单细纸和一撮墨西哥烟丝,灵巧地告成一支香烟。他把第一口烟深深地吸进肺以再慢悠悠地吐了出来。“上帝呀!”他大声地说,声音肃然,带着惊奇。“上帝呀!”他又说。然后再说了声“上帝呀!”于是一把抓住领子从衬衫上扯了下来,塞进口袋。寒雨潇潇地下着,可他却光着头让它淋,而且解开了背心扣子,晃动着身子痛痛快快满不在乎地走着。他只模糊意识到有雨。他处在一种狂欢极乐的境界,做着梦,重新回味着刚才的一个个场面。

他终于遇见了意中的女人——对于“她”他想得很少(他本不大想女人),但仍模糊地希冀者有一天会碰上她。他跟她一起吃过饭了,用自己的手摸过她的手了,曾经望进她的眼睛,看见了一个美丽的精灵的幻影;——不过那幻影并不比闪现出幻影的那双眼睛更美,不比给予它表现和形象的肉体更美。他没有把她的肉体看作肉体——这于他可是新事,因为他以前对自己认识的女人都是这么看的。可她的肉体不知怎么却有些不同。他并没有把她的身子看作身子,带邪恶的有种种弱点的身子。她的身子不但是她精神的外衣,而且是她精神的光彩,是她神圣的精华的纯净温婉的结晶。这种神圣感令他吃惊,让地从梦幻中恢复了清醒的头脑。以往他从不曾被神圣的话语、启示或讽喻所打动,也不曾相信过神圣的事物。他一向不信宗教,对于引人进入天国的人和他们的灵魂不问一向心平气和地嗤之以鼻。他曾主张死后区没有生命,生命只在此时此地,然后便是永恒的黑暗。可现在他在露丝眼里却看见了灵魂——不朽的永恒的灵魂。他见过的人,无论男女,谁也不曾给他永生的信息,可露丝给了他;她看他第一眼时就悄悄地给了他。他往前走,露丝的面庞在他眼前闪烁——苍白、严肃,甜蜜而敏感,带着同情与温柔微笑着。只有仙灵才会那么笑。她纯洁到了他梦想不到的程度。她的纯洁于他也仿佛是当头律喝,令他震惊。事物的好好坏环地都见过,但作为生命属性的纯洁却从未进入过他的心V。现在地从她身上懂得了纯洁,那是善与净的最高形式,其总体便构成了永生。

她的纯洁也立即唤醒了他的雄心,要他抓住这永恒的生命。他是连给她送水也不配的——他有自知之明。能在那天晚上让他见到露丝、跟她交往、跟她谈话是奇迹般的幸运和梦想不到的福分,是巧合,不是应该,他是配不上这样的福分的。他的心情实质上是宗教性的。他谦卑、恭顺,满怀自我贬斥与压抑。罪人们就是怀着这种心请坐到忏悔的长凳上去的。他被判定有罪。但是正如在忏悔席上的谦卑、恭顺的忏悔人瞥见他们未来的辉煌生活一样,他也从占有露丝瞥见了类似的辉煌生活。但是这种占有德俄暧昧,跟他所知道的占有完全是两回事。雄心展开狂热的翅膀飞翔,他看见自己跟她一起登上了高峰,跟她同心同德,共同享有着美丽高贵的事物。他梦想的是一种灵魂的占有,脱尽凡俗地高雅,是难以用确切的文字界定的一种自由的精神契合。他不曾想过——在这方面他根本不去想。此时感觉已取代了理智。他只是满怀前所未有的激情,战栗着,悸动着,在感觉的海洋上美妙地漂浮。感觉升华了,化作了精神,高蹈于生命的最高峰之外。

他像个醉汉一样跌跌撞撞地走着,嘴里狂热地前南地叫着:“上帝呀!上帝呀!”

街角一个警察怀疑地打量了他一会儿,注意到了他那水手式的蹄W。

“你是在哪儿灌的?”警察问他。

马丁·伊登回到了地面。他的机体反应灵敏,能迅速地调整,并把变化输送到每一个角落,把它充满。警察一招呼,他立即明白过来,清醒地掌握了情况。

“很好玩,是么?”他笑笑,回答,“我还不知道叫出了声呢!”

“你怕是马上还要唱歌吧,”警察给他作出诊断。

“不会的,给我根火柴我就赶下班车回家。”

他点燃了香烟,道了晚安,向前走去。“你没有糊涂吧?”他压低嗓子叫道。“那公安以为我醉了。”他暗暗好笑,想。“我看我倒真是醉了,”他又说,“可我不相信一个女人的漂亮面孔会醉倒我。”

他搭了一部通向伯克利的电报局大街的班车。车上满是青年和学生,学生们唱着歌,不时地喊着大学啦啦队的啦啦词。他好奇地研究着他们。是大学男生。跟她同学,跟她交往,同班,说不定还认识她,若是想见到她就每天都能见到。他不明白他们怎么会不想见她,那天晚上怎么会出去玩而没有在她身边围成一圈去跟她谈话,对她顶礼膜拜。他想了下去。他注意到一个青年眼睛细成两条缝,嘴唇还塔拉着。他断定那家伙阴险;要是在船上他肯定是个告黑状、翻是非、哼哼叽叽的主儿,而他,马丁·伊登准比他强。这想法叫他高兴,仿佛让他跟露丝靠近丁一步。他开始拿自己跟那些学生比较,意识到自己身体结实,有信心比他们谁都力气大。但是他们却有满脑子知识,跟露丝有共同的语言,这一想他又蔫了下来。可是,人长脑子是干吗的?他激动地问。他们能办到的事他也能办到,他们一直是从书本上学习生活.可他却一直在生活里忙碌。他的脑子也跟他们一样满是知识,不过是另一类知识罢了。他们有几个人能结水手结?能开船?能上班?他的生活在他眼前展开为一系列冒险犯难、艰苦劳动的图画。他想起了他在这种学习中所经历的失败和困苦。可无论如何他同样是优秀的。他们以扈还得开始生活,像他一样经受磨难。好吧,等他们忙着受磨难的时候,他便可以从书本上学习生活的另一个方面了。

汽车经过奥克兰和伯克利之间那个住宅稀疏的地区时,他一直在注意一幢熟悉的一楼一底的建筑,楼前有一块神气十足的大招牌:希金波坦现金商店。马丁·伊甸在这个街角下了车。他抬头望了望招牌。除了字面的意思之外这招牌对他还意味着别的:一个狭隘、自私,玩小花头的男人似乎正从那些大字后面露了出来。伯纳德·希金波坦娶了他的姐姐。他对这人很了解。他拿出弹簧锁钥匙开门进屋上了楼。他姐夫住楼上,杂货店在楼下。空气中有陈腐蔬菜的气味。他摸索着穿过厅堂,却碰上了一个玩具汽车,那是他众多的侄儿侄女之一留在那儿的,那车叫他一带,撞在一扇门上“砰”地一响。“吝啬鬼,”他想,“就舍不得花两分钱煤气点个灯,免得房客摔断脖子。”

他摸索到门把手,进了一间有灯光的屋子,他姐姐和伯纳德·希金波坦坐在屋里。姐姐在给姐夫补裤子,姐夫那精瘦的身子在两张椅子上搁着。他的脚穿着破烂的毡拖鞋,挂在另一张椅子上晃荡。他读着报,从报纸顶上瞥了他一眼,露出一对不老实的恶狠狠的黑眼睛。马丁·伊登一见他就禁不住感到恶心。他真不懂他姐姐究竟看上了这人的什么。他总觉得这家伙太像条虫,总叫他牙痒痒的,恨不得一脚踩死。“我总有一天要把他那脸撞个稀烂的,”他在受不了这家伙时常常这样安慰自己。那双凶狠的、黄鼠狼似的小眼睛盯着他,带着抱怨。

“行了,”马丁问,“有啥话就说。”

“那道门我是上个礼拜才油漆的呢,”希金波坦先生半是哀号,半是威胁,“工联规定的工钱有多高你是知道的。你应该小心一点。”

马丁想反驳,可再一想,反驳也没有用,便越过那灵魂的严重丑恶去看墙上那幅五彩石印画,那画让他大吃了一惊。他以前一向是很喜欢它的,现在却仿佛是第一次见到。那画廉价,跟屋里其他东西一样,只能算是廉价。他的心回到了刚才离开的住宅。首先看见了那儿的画,然后便看见了在跟自己握手告别的露丝,她正看着他,温柔得能叫人融化,他忘掉了自己现在的地点,忘掉了希金波坦还在面前。希金波坦问道:

“你见鬼了?”

马丁回过神来,看见了那对含讥带讽、专横却又怯懦的小眼睛。另一对眼睛像在银幕上一样映入了他的眼帘:希金波坦在楼下商店里做生意时的眼睛:讨好、吹嘘、油滑、奉承。

“没错,”马丁回答,“我是见到鬼了,晚安。晚安,格特露。”

他打算离升屋子,却在松垮垮的地毯一条绽开的缝上绊了一下。

“别把门关得砰砰响,”希金波坦先生提醒他。

他一阵怒火中烧,却控制住了自己,在身后轻轻带上了门。

希金波坦先生得意扬扬地望着他的妻子。

“喝上了,”他沙哑着嗓子宣布,“我告诉过你他会喝上的。”

她无可奈何地点点头。

“他的眼睛倒是有些发亮,”她承认,“领带也解掉了,可出去时是打上的。不过他可能只喝了两杯。”

“连站都站不住了,”她的丈夫断然地说,“我观察过他。走路已经歪歪倒倒。你自己也听见的,他在大厅里几乎摔倒。”

“我看他是撞上阿丽丝的车了,”她说,“黑暗里看不见。”

希金波坦先生发起脾气来,提高了嗓门。他整天在店里低声下气,把气留到晚上对家里的人发。晚上他就有特权原形毕露。

“我告诉你,你那宝贝弟弟是喝醉了。”

他口气冷酷,尖锐而且专断,嘴唇像机器上的铸模一样一个字一个字地敲。他的妻子叹了口气,没再说话。她是个身材高大的健壮女人,总是穿得邋里邋遢,总是因为自己个子太大,工作太重,丈夫太刁而精疲力竭。

“我告诉你,那是从他爸爸那儿遗传来的。”希金波坦先生继续指摘,“有一天也照样会醉倒在阳沟里去哼哼的,这你知道。”

她点点头,叹口气,继续补裤子。两人意见已经一致:马丁回家时确是喝醉了。他们灵魂里没有理解美的能力,否则他们就会看出那闪亮的眼睛和酡红的面顿所表示的正是青春对爱情的第一次幻想。

“给孩子们作了个好榜样,”希金波坦先生在沉默中突然哼了一声。他的妻子要对沉默负责,而他又讨厌她的沉默。他有时几乎恨不得他妻子多反驳他几句.“他要是再喝酒,就得给我走人,懂不懂?我不会听凭他胡闹下去的。——天真无邪的孩子们都给他带邪了。”希金波坦先生喜欢“带邪”这个词,那是他词汇表上的一个新词,前不久才从报纸专栏上学来的。“就是‘带邪’——别的词都不对。”

他的妻子们在叹气,并忧伤地摇着头,继续缝补。希金波坦先生又读起报来。

“他上个月的膳宿费交了没有?”他越过报纸叫道。

她点点头,又补充一句:“他还有点钱。”

“他什么时候再出海?”

“工资用完了就走,我猜是,”她回答,“他昨天去旧金山就是去找船的。但是他还有钱,而且对签字要去干活的船很挑剔。”

“像他那种擦甲板的角色,还拿什么架子,”希金波坦先生嗤之以鼻,“挑剔!他!”

“他说起过一条船,正在作准备,要到什么荒凉的地方去寻找埋藏的珍宝,若是他的钱用得到那时的话,他就上那条船去干活儿。”

“他要能踏实一点我倒可以给他个活干。开货车。”她丈夫说,口气里全无照顾的意思,“汤姆不干了。”

他的妻子脸上流露出了惊讶和疑问。

“今晚上就不干了。要去给卡路塞斯干。他们给的那工钱我给不起。”

“我告诉过你你会失去他的,”她叫了起来,“你该给他加工资的,他应该多得。”

“听着,老太婆,”希金波坦威胁道,“我给你说过无数退了,铺子里的事你别瞎操心。下回我可不再打招呼了。”

“那我不管,”她抽了抽鼻子,说,“汤姆原来可是个好孩子。”

她丈夫恶狠狠地瞪了她一眼,毫无来由地挑衅道。

“你那弟弟若是不白吃那么多面包,他可以来开货车。”他哼了一声。

“他可是吃和住都交了费的,”她反驳道,“何况还是我弟弟,只要他不欠你钱你就没理由动不动对他大呼小叫。我还是有感情的,哪怕跟你结了婚七年。”

“你告诉过他若是他再躺在床上看书就要他增加煤气费么?”他问。

希金波坦太太没回答。她的反抗烟消云散了。她肉体太疲倦,精神便蔫了下来、她丈夫占了理,赢了,眼睛一闪一闪放出惩罚的光。他听见地抽泣,心里更高兴。他从驳得她声不响中得到极大的乐趣,而这些日子她却很容易就用上了啥,尽管结婚的头几年并不如此;那时她那一大群娃娃和他那没完没了的唠叨还不曾消磨尽她的锐气。

“好,那你就明天通知他,”他说,“还有,趁我还没忘记。也告诉你一声:你明天最好打发人去叫茉莉安来看孩子。汤姆不干了,我只好去开车,你得下决心到楼下去守柜台。”

“可明天要洗衣服,”她有气没力地反对。

“那就早点起床先洗完衣服。我十点钟之前还不走,”

他凶狠地翻着报纸,翻得沙沙响,然后又读了起来。


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