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呼啸山庄(Wuthering Heights)第二十一章

双击单词可弹出解释框  时间:2010-07-16 21:14  作者:

We had sad work with little Cathy that day; she rose in high glee, eager to join her cousin, and such passionate tears and lamentations followed the news of his departure, that Edgar himself was obliged to soothe her, by affirming he should come back soon: he added, however, `if I can get him'; and there were no hopes of that. This promise poorly pacified her: but time was more potent; and though still at intervals she inquired of her father when Linton would return, before she did see him again his features had waxed so dim in her memory that she did not recognize him.

When I chanced to encounter the housekeeper of Wuthering Heights in paying business visits to Gimmerton, I used to ask how the young master got on; for he lived almost as secluded as Catherine herself, and was never to be seen. I could gather from her that he continued in weak health, and was a tiresome inmate. She said Mr Heathcliff seemed to dislike him ever longer and worse, though he took some trouble to conceal it: he had an antipathy to the sound of his voice, and could not do at all with his sitting in the same room with him many minutes together. There seldom passed much talk between them: Linton learnt his lessons and spent his evenings in a small apartment they called the parlour: or else lay in bed all day: for he was constantly getting coughs, and colds, and aches, and pains of some sort.

And I never knew such a faint-hearted creature,' added the woman; nor one so careful of hisseln. He will go on, if I leave the window open a bit late in the evening. Oh! it's killing! a breath of night air! And he must have a fire in the middle of summer; and Joseph's bacca pipe is poison; and he must always have sweets and dainties, and always milk, milk for ever--heeding naught how the rest of us are pinched in winter; and there he'll sit, wrapped in his furred cloak in his chair by the fire, some toast and water or other slop on the hob to sip at; and if Hareton, for pity, comes to amuse him--Hareton is not bad-natured, though he's rough--they're sure to part, one swearing and the other crying. I believe the master would relish Earnshaw's thrashing him to a mummy, if he were not his son; and I'm certain he would be fit to turn him out of doors, if he knew half the nursing he gives hisseln. But then, he won't go into danger of temptation: he never enters the parlour, and should Linton show those ways in the house where he is, he sends him upstairs directly.'

I divined, from this account, that utter lack of sympathy had rendered young Heathcliff selfish and disagreeable, if he were not so originally; and my interest in him, consequently, decayed: though still I was moved with a sense of grief at his lot, and a wish that he had been left with us. Mr Edgar encouraged me to gain information: he thought a great deal about him, I fancy, and would have run some risk to see him; and he told me once to ask the housekeeper whether he ever came into the village? She said he had only been twice, on horseback, accompanying his father, and both times he pretended to be quite knocked up for three or four days afterwards. The housekeeper left, if I recollect rightly, two years after he came; and another, whom I did not know, was her successor: she lives there still.

Time wore on at the Grange in its former pleasant way, till Miss Cathy reached sixteen. On the anniversary of her birth we never manifested any signs of rejoicing, because it was also the anniversary of my late mistress's death. Her father invariably spent that day alone in the library; and walked, at dusk, as far as Gimmerton kirkyard, where he would frequently prolong his stay beyond midnight. Therefore Catherine was thrown on her own resources for amusement. This both of March was a beautiful spring day, and when her father had retired, my young lady came down dressed for going out, and said she had asked to have a ramble on the edge of the moors with me; and Mr Linton had given her leave, if we went only a short distance and were back within the hour.

`So make haste, Ellen!' she cried. `I know where I wish to go; where a colony of moor game are settled: I want to see whether they have made their nests yet.

`That must be a good distance up,' I answered; `they don't breed on the edge of the moor.

`No, it's not,' she said. `I've gone very near with papa.'

I put on my bonnet and sallied out, thinking nothing more of the matter. She bounded before me, and returned to my side, and was off again like a young greyhound; and, at first, I found plenty of entertainment in listening to the larks singing far and near, and enjoying the sweet, warm sunshine; and watching her, my pet, and my delight, with her golden ringlets flying loose behind, and her bright cheek, as soft and pure in its bloom as a wild rose, and her eyes radiant with cloudless pleasure. She was a happy creature, and an angel, in those days. It's a pity she could not be content.

`Well,' said I, `where are your moor game, Miss Cathy? We should be at them: the Grange park fence is a great way off now.'

`Oh, a little farther--only a little farther, Ellen,' was her answer continually. `Climb to that hillock, pass that bank, and by the time you reach the other side I shall have raised the birds.'

But there were so many hillocks and banks to climb and pass, that, at length, I began to be weary, and told her we must halt, and retrace our steps. I shouted to her, as she had outstripped me a long way; she either did not hear or did not regard, for she still sprang on, and I was compelled to follow. Finally, she dived into a hollow; and before I came in sight of her again, she was two miles nearer Wuthering Heights than her own home; and I beheld a couple of persons arrest her, one of whom I felt convinced was Mr Heathcliff himself.

Cathy had been caught in the fact of plundering, or, at least, hunting out the nests of the grouse. The Heights were Heathcliff's land, and he was reproving the poacher.

`I've neither taken any nor found any,' she said, as I toiled to them, expanding her hands in corroboration of the statement. `I didn't mean to take them; but papa told me there were quantities up here, and I wished to see the eggs.'

Heathcliff glanced at me with an ill-meaning smile, expressing his acquaintance with the party, and, consequently, his malevolence towards it, and demanded who `papa' was?

`Mr Linton of Thrushcross Grange,' she replied. `I thought you did not know me, or you wouldn't have spoken in that way.'

`You suppose papa is highly esteemed and respected then?' he said sarcastically.

`And what are you?' inquired Catherine, gazing curiously on the speaker. `That man I've seen before Is he your son?'

She pointed to Hareton, the other individual, who had gained nothing but increased bulk and strength by the addition of two years to his age: he seemed as awkward and rough as ever.

`Miss Cathy,' I interrupted, `it will be three hours instead of one that we are out, presently. We really must go back.'

`No, that man is not my son,' answered Heathcliff, pushing me aside. `But I have one, and you have seen him before too; and, though your nurse is in a hurry, I think both you and she would be the better for a little rest. Will you just turn this nab of heath, and walk into my house? You'll get home earlier for the ease; and you shall receive a kind welcome.

I whispered Catherine that she mustn't, on any account, accede to the proposal: it was entirely out of the question.

`Why?' she asked, aloud. `I'm tired of running, and the ground is dewy: I can't sit here. Let us go, Ellen. Besides, he says I have seen his son. He's mistaken, I think; but I guess where he lives: at the farmhouse I visited in coming from Penistone Crags. Don't you?'

`I do. Come, Nelly, hold your tongue--it will be a treat for her to look in on us. Hareton, get forwards with the lass. You shall walk with me, Nelly.'

`No, she's not going to any such place,' I cried, struggling to release my arm, which he had seized: but she was almost at the doorstones already, scampering round the brow at full speed. Her appointed companion did not pretend to escort her: he shied off by the roadside, and vanished.

`Mr Heathcliff, it's very wrong,' I continued: `you know you mean no good. And there she'll see Linton, and all will be told as soon as ever we return; and I shall have the blame.

`I want her to see Linton,' he answered; `he's looking better these few days: it's not often he's fit to be seen. And we'll soon persuade her to keep the visit secret: where is the harm of it?'

`The harm of it is, that her father would hate me if he found I suffered her to enter your house; and I am convinced you have a bad design in encouraging her to do so,' I replied.

`My design is as honest as possible. I'll inform you of its whole scope,' he said. `That the two cousins may fall in love, and get married. I'm acting generously to your master: his young chit has no expectations, and should she second my wishes, she'll be provided for at once as joint successor with Linton.'

`If Linton died,' I answered, `and his life is quite uncertain, Catherine would be the heir.'

`No, she would not,' he said. `There is no clause in the will to secure it so: his property would go to me; but, to prevent disputes, I desire their union, and am resolved to bring it about.'

`And I'm resolved she shall never approach your house with me again,' I returned, as we reached the gate, where Miss Cathy waited our coming.

Heathcliff bid me be quiet; and, preceding us up the path, hastened to open the door. My young lady gave him several looks, as if she could not exactly make up her mind what to think of him; but now he smiled when he met her eye, and softened his voice in addressing her; and I was foolish enough to imagine the memory of her mother might disarm him from desiring her injury. Linton stood on the hearth. He had been out walking in the fields, for his cap was on, and he was calling to Joseph to bring him dry shoes. He had grown tall of his age, still wanting some months of sixteen. His features were pretty yet, and his eye and complexion brighter than I remembered them, though with merely temporary lustre borrowed from the salubrious air and genial sun.

`Now, who is that?' asked Mr Heathcliff, turning to Cathy. `Can you tell?'

`Your son?' she said, having doubtfully surveyed, first one and then the other.

`Yes, yes,' answered he: `but is this the only time you have beheld him? Think! Ah! you have a short memory. Linton, don't you recall your cousin, that you used to tease us so with wishing to see?'

`What, Linton!' cried Cathy, kindling into joyful surprise at the name. `Is that little Linton? He's taller than I am! Are you, Linton?'

The youth stepped forward, and acknowledged himself: she kissed him fervently, and they gazed with wonder at the change time had wrought in the appearance of each. Catherine had reached her full height; her figure was both plump and slender, elastic as steel, and her whole aspect sparkling with health and spirits. Linton's looks and movements were very languid, and his form extremely slight; but there was a grace in his manner that mitigated these defects, and rendered him not unpleasing. After exchanging numerous marks of fondness with him, his cousin went to Mr Heathcliff, who lingered by the door, dividing his attention between the objects inside and those that lay without: pretending, that is, to observe the latter, and really noting the former alone.

`And you are my uncle, then!' she cried, reaching up to salute him. `I thought I liked you, though you were cross at first. Why don't you visit at the Grange with Linton? To live all these years such close neighbours, and never see us, is odd: what have you done so for?'

`I visited it once or twice too often before you were born,' he answered. `There--damn it! If you have any kisses to spare, give them to Linton: they are thrown away on me.

`Naughty Ellen!' exclaimed Catherine, flying to attack me next with her lavish caresses. `Wicked Ellen! to try to hinder me from entering. But I'll take this walk every morning in future: may I, uncle? and sometimes bring papa. Won't you be glad to see us?'

`Of course!' replied the uncle, with a hardly suppressed grimace, resulting from his deep aversion to both the proposed visitors. `But stay,' he continued, turning towards the young lady. `Now I think of it, I'd better tell you. Mr Linton has a prejudice against me: we quarrelled at one time of our lives, with unchristian ferocity; and, if you mention coming here to him, he'll put a veto on your visits altogether. Therefore, you must not mention it, unless you be careless of seeing your cousin hereafter: you may come, if you will, but you must not mention it.'

`Why did you quarrel?' asked Catherine, considerably crest-fallen.

`He thought me too poor to wed his sister,' answered Heathcliff, `and was grieved that I got her: his pride was hurt, and he'll never forgive it.'

`That's wrong!' said the young lady: `some time, I'll tell him so. But Linton and I have no share in your quarrel. I'll not come here, then; he shall come to the Grange.'

`It will be too far for me,' murmured her cousin: `to walk four miles would kill me. No, come here, Miss Catherine, now and then: not every morning, but once or twice a week.'

The father launched towards his son a glance of bitter contempt.

`I am afraid, Nelly, I shall lose my labour,' he muttered to me. `Miss Catherine, as the ninny calls her, will discover his value, and send him to the devil. Now, if it had been Hareton!--Do you know that, twenty times a day, I covet Hareton, with all his degradation? I'd have loved the lad had he been someone else. But I think he's safe from her love. I'll pit him against that paltry creature, unless it bestir itself briskly. We calculate it will scarcely last till it is eighteen. Oh, confound the vapid thing! He's absorbed in drying his feet, and never looks at her.--Linton!'

`Yes, father,' answered the boy.

`Have you nothing to show your cousin anywhere about? not even a rabbit or a weasel's nest? Take her into the garden, before you change your shoes; and into the stable to see your horse.

`Wouldn't you rather sit here?' asked Linton, addressing Cathy in a tone which expressed reluctance to move again.

`I don't know,' she replied, casting a longing look to the door, and evidently eager to be active.

He kept his seat, and shrank closer to the fire. Heathcliff rose, and went into the kitchen, and from thence to the yard, calling out for Hareton. Hareton responded, and presently the two reentered. The young man had been washing himself, as was visible by the glow on his cheeks and his wetted hair.

`Oh, I'll ask you, uncle,' cried Miss Cathy, recollecting the housekeeper's assertion. `That is not my cousin, is he?'

`Yes,' he replied, `your mother's nephew. Don't you like him?' Catherine looked queer. `Is he not a handsome lad?' he continued. The uncivil little thing stood on tiptoe, and whispered a sentence in Heathcliff's ear. He laughed; Hareton darkened: I perceived he was very sensitive to suspected slights, and had obviously a dim notion of his inferiority. But his master or guardian chased the frown by exclaiming:

`You'll be the favourite among us, Hareton! She says you are a--What was it? Well, something very flattering. Here! you go with her round the farm. And behave like a gentleman, mind! Don't use any bad words; and don't stare when the young lady is not looking at you, and be ready to hide your face when she is; and, when you speak, say your words slowly, and keep your hands out of your pockets. Be off, and entertain her as nicely as you can.

He watched the couple walking past the window. Earnshaw had his countenance completely averted from his companion. He seemed studying the familiar landscape with a stranger's and an artist's interest. Catherine took a sly look at him, expressing small admiration. She then turned her attention to seeking out objects of amusement for herself, and tripped merrily on, lilting a tune to supply the lack of conversation.

`I've tied his tongue,' observed Heathcliff. `He'll not venture a single syllable, all the time! Nelly, you recollect me at his age--nay, some years younger. Did I ever look so stupid: so ``gaumless'', as Joseph calls it?'

`Worse,' I replied, `because more sullen with it.'

`I've a pleasure in him,' he continued, reflecting aloud. `He has satisfied my expectations. If he were a born fool I should not enjoy it half so much. But he's no fool; and I can sympathize with all his feelings, having felt them myself. I know what he suffers now, for instance, exactly: it is merely a beginning of what he shall suffer, though. And he'll never be able to emerge from his bathos of coarseness and ignorance. I've got him faster than his scoundrel of a father secured me, and lower; for he takes a pride in his brutishness. I've taught him to scorn everything extra-animal as silly and weak. Don't you think Hindley would be proud of his son, if he could see him? almost as proud as I am of mine. But there's this difference; one is gold put to the use of paving-stones, and the other is tin polished to ape a service of silver. Mine has nothing valuable about it; yet I shall have the merit of making it go as far as such poor stuff can go. His had first-rate qualities, and they are lost: rendered worse than unavailing. I have nothing to regret; he would have more than any but I are aware of. And the best of it is, Hareton is damnably fond of me! You'll own that I've outmatched Hindley there. If the dead villain could rise from his grave to abuse me for his offspring's wrongs, I should have the fun of seeing the said offspring fight him back again, indignant that he should dare to rail at the one friend he has in the world!'

Heathcliff chuckled a fiendish laugh at the idea. I made no reply, because I saw that he expected none. Meantime, our young companion, who sat too removed from us to hear what was said, began to evince symptoms of uneasiness, probably repenting that he had denied himself the treat of Catherine's society for fear of a little fatigue. His father remarked the restless glances wandering to the window, and the hand irresolutely extended towards his cap.

`Get up, you idle boy!' he exclaimed, with assumed heartiness. `Away after them! they are just at the corner, by the stand of hives.'

Linton gathered his energies, and left the hearth. The lattice was open, and, as he stepped out, I heard Cathy inquiring of her unsociable attendant, what was that inscription over the door? Hareton stared up, and scratched his head like a true clown.

`It's some damnable writing,' he answered. `I cannot read it.'

`Can't read it?' cried Catherine; `I can read it: it's English. But I want to know why it is there.'

Linton giggled: the first appearance of mirth he had exhibited.

`He does not know his letters,' he said to his cousin. `Could you believe in the existence of such a colossal dunce?'

`Is he all as he should be?' asked Miss Cathy seriously; `or is he simple: not right? I've questioned him twice now, and each time he looked so stupid I think he does not understand me. I can hardly understand him, I'm sure!'

Linton repeated his laugh, and glanced at Hareton tauntingly; who certainly did not seem quite clear of comprehension at that moment.

`There's nothing the matter but laziness; is there, Earnshaw?' he said. `My cousin fancies you are an idiot. There you experience the consequence of scorning ``book-larning'', as you would say. Have you noticed, Catherine, his frightful Yorkshire pronunciation?'

`Why, where the devil is the use on't?' growled Hareton, more ready in answering his daily companion. He was about to enlarge further, but the two youngsters broke into a noisy fit of merriment; my giddy miss being delighted to discover that she might turn his strange talk to matter of amusement.

`Where is the use of the devil in that sentence?' tittered Linton. `Papa told you not to say any bad words, and you can't open your mouth without one. Do try to behave like a gentleman, now do!'

`If thou weren't more a lass than a lad, I'd fell thee this minute, I would; pitiful lath of a crater!' retorted the angry boor, retreating, while his face burnt with mingled rage and mortification; for he was conscious of being insulted, and embarrassed how to resent it.

Mr Heathcliff having overheard the conversation, as well as I, smiled when he saw him go; but immediately afterwards cast a look of singular aversion on the flippant pair, who remained chattering in the doorway: the boy finding animation enough while discussing Hareton's faults and deficiencies, and relating anecdotes of his goings-on; and the girl relishing his pert and spiteful sayings, without considering the ill nature they evinced: but I began to dislike, more than to compassionate Linton, and to excuse his father, in some measure, for holding him cheap.

We stayed till afternoon: I could not tear Miss Cathy away, before; but happily my master had not quitted his apartment, and remained ignorant of our prolonged absence. As we walked home, I would fain have enlightened my charge on the characters of the people we had quitted; but she got it into her head that I was prejudiced against them.

`Aha!' she cried, `you take papa's side, Ellen: you are partial, I know; or else you wouldn't have cheated me so many years into the notion that Linton lived a long way from here. I'm really extremely angry; only I'm so pleased I can't show it! But you must hold your tongue about my uncle: he's my uncle, remember; and I'll scold papa for quarrelling with him.

And so she ran on, till I dropped endeavouring to convince her of her mistake. She did not mention the visit that night, because she did not see Mr Linton. Next day it all came out, sadly to my chagrin; and still I was not altogether sorry: I thought the burden of directing and warning would be more efficiently borne by him than me. But he was too timid in giving satisfactory reasons for his wish that she should shun connection with the household of the Heights, and Catherine liked good reasons for every restraint that harassed her petted will.

`Papa!' she exclaimed, after the morning's salutations, `guess whom I saw yesterday, in my walk on the moors. Ah, papa, you started! you've not done right, have you, now? I saw--But listen, and you shall hear how I found you out; and Ellen, who is in league with you, and yet pretended to pity me so, when I kept hoping, and was always disappointed about Linton's coming back!'

She gave a faithful account of her excursion and its consequences; and my master, though he cast more than one reproachful look at me, said nothing till she had concluded. Then he drew her to him, and asked if she knew why he had concealed Linton's near neighbourhood from her. Could she think it was to deny her a pleasure that she might harmlessly enjoy?

`It was because you disliked Mr Heathcliff,' she answered.

`Then you believe I care more for my own feelings than yours, Cathy?' he said. `No, it was not because I disliked Mr Heathcliff, but because Mr Heathcliff dislikes me; and is a most diabolical man, delighting to wrong and ruin those he hates, if they give him the slightest opportunity. I knew that you could not keep up an acquaintance with your cousin, without being brought into contact with him; and I knew he would detest you on my account; so for your own good, and nothing else, I took precautions that you should not see Linton again. I meant to explain this some time as you grew older, and I'm sorry I delayed it.'

`But Mr Heathcliff was quite cordial, papa,' observed Catherine, not at all convinced; `and he didn't object to our seeing each other: he said I might come to his house when I pleased; only I must not tell you, because you had quarrelled with him, and would not forgive him for marrying aunt Isabella. And you won't. You are the one to be blamed: he is willing to let us be friends, at least; Linton and I; and you are not.

My master, perceiving that she would not take his word for her uncle-in-law's evil disposition, gave a hasty sketch of his conduct to Isabella, and the manner in which Wuthering Heights became his property. He could not bear to discourse long upon the topic; for though he spoke little of it, he still felt the same horror and detestation of his ancient enemy that had occupied his heart ever since Mrs Linton's death. `She might have been living yet, if it had not been for him!' was his constant bitter reflection; and, in his eyes, Heathcliff seemed a murderer. Miss Cathy--conversant with no bad deeds except her own slight acts of disobedience, injustice, and passion, rising from hot temper and thoughtlessness, and repented of on the day they were committed--was amazed at the blackness of spirit that could brood on and cover revenge for years, and deliberately prosecute its plans without a visitation of remorse. She appeared so deeply impressed and shocked at this new view of human nature--excluded from all her studies and all her ideas till now--that Mr Edgar deemed it unnecessary to pursue the subject. He merely added:

`You will know hereafter, darling, why I wish you to avoid his house and family; now return to your old employments and amusements, and think no more about them.'

Catherine kissed her father and sat down quietly to her lessons for a couple of hours, according to custom; then she accompanied him into the grounds, and the whole day passed as usual: but in the evening, when she had retired to her room, and I went to help her to undress, I found her crying, on her knees by the bedside.

`Oh, fie, silly child!' I exclaimed. `If you had any real griefs, you'd be ashamed to waste a tear on this little contrariety. You never had one shadow of substantial sorrow, Miss Catherine. Suppose, for a minute, that master and I were dead, and you were by yourself in the world: how would you feel then? Compare the present occasion with such an affliction as that, and be thankful for the friends you have, instead of coveting more.'

`I'm not crying for myself, Ellen,' she answered, `it's for him. He expected to see me again tomorrow, and there he'll be so disappointed: and he'll wait for me, and I shan't come!'

`Nonsense,' said I, `do you imagine he has thought as much of you as you have of him? Hasn't he Hareton for a companion? Not one in a hundred would weep at losing a relation they had just seen twice, for two afternoons. Linton will conjecture how it is, and trouble himself no further about you.'

`But may I not write a note to tell him why I cannot come?' she asked, rising to her feet. `And just send those books I promised to lend him? His books are not as nice as mine, and he wanted to have them extremely, when I told him how interesting they were. May I not, Ellen?'

`No, indeed! no, indeed!' replied I, with decision. `Then he would write to you, and there'd never be an end of it. No, Miss Catherine, the acquaintance must be dropped entirely: so papa expects, and I shall see that it is done.'

`But how can one little note---' she recommenced, putting on an imploring countenance.

`Silence!' I interrupted. `We'll not begin with your little notes. Get into bed.'

She threw at me a very naughty look, so naughty that I would not kiss her good night at first: I covered her up, and shut her door, in great displeasure; but, repenting half way, I returned softly, and lo! there was miss standing at the table with a bit of blank paper before her and a pencil in her hand, which she guiltily slipped out of sight, on my entrance.

`You'll get nobody to take that, Catherine,' I said, `if you write it; and at present I shall put out your candle.'

I set the extinguisher on the flame, receiving as I did so a slap on my hand, and petulant `Cross thing!' I then quitted her again, and she drew the bolt in one of her worst, most peevish humours. The letter was finished and forwarded to its destination by a milk-fetcher who came from the village: but that I didn't learn till some time afterwards. Weeks passed on, and Cathy recovered her temper; though she grew wondrous fond of stealing off to corners by herself; and often, if I came near her suddenly while reading, she would start and bend over the book, evidently desirous to hide it; and I detected edges of loose paper sticking out beyond the leaves. She also got a trick of coming down early in the morning and lingering about the kitchen, as if she were expecting the arrival of something: and she had a small drawer in a cabinet in the library, which she would trifle over for hours, and whose key she took special care to remove when she left it.

One day, as she inspected this drawer, I observed that the playthings, and trinkets which recently formed its contents, were transmuted into bits of folded paper. My curiosity and suspicions were aroused; I determined to take a peep at her mysterious treasures; so, at night, as soon as she and my master were safe upstairs, I searched and readily found among my house keys one that would fit the lock. Having opened, I emptied the whole contents into my apron, and took them with me to examine at leisure in my own chamber. Though I could not but suspect, I was still surprised to discover that they were a mass of correspondence--daily almost, it must have been--from Linton Heathcliff: answers to documents forwarded by her. The earlier dated were embarrassed and short; gradually, however, they expanded into copious love letters, foolish, as the age of the writer rendered natural, yet with touches here and there which I thought were borrowed from a more experienced source. Some of them struck me as singularly odd compounds of ardour and flatness; commencing in strong feeling, and concluding in the affected, wordy way that a schoolboy might use to a fancied, incorporeal sweetheart. Whether they satisfied Cathy, I don't know; but they appeared very worthless trash to me. After turning over as many as I thought proper, I tied them in a handkerchief and set them aside, relocking the vacant drawer.

Following her habit, my young lady descended early, and visited the kitchen: I watched her go to the door, on the arrival of a certain little boy; and, while the dairymaid filled his can, she tucked something into his jacket pocket, and plucked something out. I went round by the garden, and laid wait for the messenger; who fought valorously to defend his trust, and we spilt the milk between us; but I succeeded in abstracting the epistle; and, threatening serious consequences if he did not look sharp home, I remained under the wall and perused Miss Cathy's affectionate composition. It was more simple and more eloquent than her cousin's; very pretty and very silly. I shook my head, and went meditating into the house. The day being wet, she could not divert herself with rambling about the park; so, at the conclusion of her morning studies, she resorted to the solace of the drawer. Her father sat reading at the table; and I, on purpose, had sought a bit of work in some unripped fringes of the window curtain, keeping my eye steadily fixed on her proceedings. Never did any bird flying back to a plundered nest which it had left brimful of chirping young ones, express more complete despair in its anguished cries and flutterings, than she by her single `Oh!' and the change that transfigured her late happy countenance. Mr Linton looked up.

`What is the matter, love? Have you hurt yourself?' he said.

His tone and look assured her he had not been the discoverer of the hoard.

`No, papa!' she gasped. `Ellen! Ellen! come upstairs-I'm sick!' I obeyed her summons, and accompanied her out.

`Oh, Ellen! you have got them,' she commenced immediately, dropping on her knees, when we were enclosed alone. `Oh, give them to me, and I'll never, never do so again! Don't tell papa. You have not told papa, Ellen? say you have not? I've been exceedingly naughty, but I won't do it any more!'

With a grave severity in my manner, I bid her stand up.

`So,' I exclaimed, `Miss Catherine, you are tolerably far on, it seems: you may well be ashamed of them! A fine bundle of trash you study in your leisure hours, to be sure: why, it's good enough to be printed! And what do you suppose the master will think when I display it before him? I haven't shown it yet, but you needn't imagine I shall keep your ridiculous secrets. For shame! and you must have led the way in writing such absurdities: he would not have thought of beginning, I'm certain.'

`I didn't! I didn't!' sobbed Cathy fit to break her heart. `I didn't once think of loving him till--'

`Loving!' cried I, as scornfully as I could utter the word. `Loving! Did anybody ever hear the like! I might just as well talk of loving the miller who comes once a year to buy our corn. Pretty loving, indeed! and both times together you have seen Linton hardly four hours in your life! Now here is the babyish trash. I'm going with it to the library; and we'll see what your father says to such loving.'

She sprang at her precious epistles, but I held them above my head; and then she poured out further frantic entreaties that I would burn them--do anything rather than show them. And being really fully as inclined to laugh as scold--for I esteemed it all girlish vanity--I at length relented in a measure, and asked:

`If I consent to burn them, will you promise faithfully neither to send nor receive a letter again, nor a book (for I perceive you have sent him books), nor locks of hair, nor rings, nor playthings?'

`We don't send playthings!' cried Catherine, her pride overcoming her shame.

`Nor anything at all, then, my lady,' I said. `Unless you will, here I go.'

`I promise, Ellen!' she cried, catching my dress. `Oh, put them in the fire, do, do!'

But when I proceeded to open a place with the poker, the sacrifice was too painful to be borne. She earnestly supplicated that I would spare her one or two.

`One or two, Ellen, to keep for Linton's sake!'

I unknotted the handkerchief, and commenced dropping them in from an angle, and the flame curled up the chimney.

`I will have one, you cruel wretch!' she screamed, darting her hand into the fire, and drawing forth some half consumed fragments, at the expense of her fingers.

`Very well--and I will have some to exhibit to papa!' I answered, shaking back the rest into the bundle, and turning anew to the door.

She emptied her blackened pieces into the flames, and motioned me to finish the immolation. It was done; I stirred up the ashes, and interred them under a shovelful of coals; and she mutely, and with a sense of intense injury, retired to her private apartment. I descended to tell my master that the young lady's qualm of sickness was almost gone, but I judged it best for her to lie down a while. She wouldn't dine; but she reappeared at tea, pale, and red about the eyes, and marvellously subdued in outward aspect. Next morning I answered the letter by a slip of paper, inscribed, `Master Heathcliff is requested to send no more notes to Miss Linton, as she will not receive them.' And, thenceforth, the little boy came with vacant pockets.

那一天我们对小凯蒂可煞费苦心。她兴高采烈地起床,热望着陪她的表弟,一听到他已离去的消息,紧跟着又是眼泪又是叹气,使埃德加先生不得不亲自去安慰她,肯定他不久一定会回来;可是,他又加上一句,“如果我能把他弄回来的话。”而那是全无希望的。这个诺言很难使她平静下来;但是时间却更有力;虽然有时候她还问她父亲说林惇什么时候回来,但在她真的再看见他之前,他的容貌已在她的记忆里变得很模糊,以致见面时也不认识了。

当我有事到吉默吞去时,偶然遇到呼啸山庄的管家,我总是要问问小少爷过得怎么样;因为他和凯瑟琳本人一样的与世隔绝,从来没人看见。我从她那里得悉他身体还很衰弱,是个很难相处的人。她说希刺克厉夫先生好像越来越不喜欢他了,不过他还努力不流露这种感情。他一听见他的声音就起反感,和他在一间屋子里多坐几分钟就受不了。他们很少交谈。林惇在一间他们所谓客厅的小屋子里念书,消磨他的晚上,要么就是一整天躺在床上;因为他经常地咳嗽,受凉,疼痛,害各种不舒服的病。

“我从来没有见过这么一个没精神的人,”那女人又说,“也没有见过一个这么保养自己的人。要是我在晚上把窗子稍微关迟了一点,他就一定要闹个没完。啊!吸一口夜晚的空气,就简直是要害了他!他在仲夏时分也一定要生个火;约瑟夫的烟斗也是毒药;而且他一定总要有糖果细点,总要有牛奶,永远是牛奶——也从来不管别人在冬天多受苦;而他就坐在那儿,裹着他的皮大氅坐在火炉边他的椅子上。炉台上摆着些面包、水,或别的能一点点吸着吃的饮料;如果哈里顿出于怜悯来陪他玩——哈里顿天性并不坏,虽然他是粗野的——结果准是这一个骂骂咧咧的,那一个嚎啕大哭而散伙。我相信如果他不是主人的儿子的话,主人将会看着恩萧把他打扁还会高兴;而且我相信如果主人知道他在怎样看护自己,哪怕只知道一半,也会把他赶出门的。可是主人不会有干这种事的可能:他从来不到客厅,而且林惇在这房子内任何地方一碰见他,主人就马上叫他上楼去。”

从这一段叙述,我推想小希刺克厉夫已经完全没人同情,变得自私而讨人嫌了,如果他不是本来如此的话;我对他的兴趣自然而然地也减退了,不过我为他的命运仍然感到悲哀,而且还存个愿望,他要是留下来跟我们住就好了。

埃德加先生鼓励我打听消息,我猜想他很想念他,并且愿意冒着风险去看看他。有一次还叫我问问管家林惇到不到村里来?她说他来过两次,骑着马,陪着他的父亲;而这两次之后总有三四天他都装作相当疲倦的样子。如果我记得不错的话,那个管家在他来到两年之后就离去了;我不认识的另一个接替了她;她如今还在那里。

和从前一样,大家愉快地在田庄里度着光阴,直到凯蒂小姐长到十六岁。她生日的那天,我们从来不露出任何欢乐的表示,因为这天也是我那已故的女主人的逝世纪念日。她的父亲在那天总是自己一个人整天待在图书室里;而且在黄昏时还要溜达到吉默吞教堂墓地那边去,逗留在那里常常到半夜以后。所以凯瑟琳总是想法自己玩。

二月二十日是一个美丽的春日,当她父亲休息时,我的小姐走下楼来,穿戴好打算出去,而且说她要和我在旷野边上走走。林惇先生已经答应她了,只要我们不走得太远,而且在一个钟头内回来。

“那么赶快,艾伦!”她叫着。“我知道我要去哪儿;我要到有一群松鸡的地方去:看看它们搭好窝没有。”

“那可很远哪,”我回答,“它们不在旷野边上繁殖的。”

“不,不会的,”她说。“我跟爸爸曾经去过,很近呢。”

我戴上帽子出发,不再想这事了。她在我前面跳着,又回到我身旁,然后又跑掉了,活像个小猎狗;起初我觉得挺有意思,听着远远近近百灵鸟歌唱着,享受着那甜蜜的、温暖的阳光,瞧着她,我的宝贝,我的欢乐,她那金黄色的卷发披散在后面,放光的脸儿像朵盛开的野玫瑰那样温柔和纯洁,眼睛散发着无忧无虑的快乐的光辉。真是个幸福的小东西,在那些日子里,她也是个天使。可惜她是不会知足的。

“好啦,”我说,“你的松鸡呢,凯蒂小姐?我们应该看到了:田庄的篱笆现在离我们已经很远啦。”

“啊,再走上一点点——只走一点点,艾伦,”她不断地回答。“爬上那座小山,过那个斜坡,你一到了那边,我就可以叫鸟出现。”

可是有这么多小山和斜坡要爬、要过,终于我开始感到累了,就告诉她我们必须打住往回走。我对她大声喊着,因为她已经走在我前面很远了。也许她没听见,也许就是不理,因为她还是往前走,我无奈只得跟随着她。最后,她钻进了一个山谷;在我再看见她以前,她已经离呼啸山庄比离她自己的家还要近二英里路哩;我瞅见两个人把她抓住了,我深信有一个就是希刺克厉夫先生本人。

凯蒂被抓是因为做了偷盗的事,或者至少是搜寻松鸡的窝。山庄是希刺克厉夫的土地,他在斥责着这个偷猎者。

“我没拿什么,也没找到什么,”她说,摊开她的双手证明自己的话,那时我已经向他们走去。“我并不是想来拿什么的,可是爸爸告诉我这儿有很多,我只想看看那些蛋。”

希刺克厉夫带着恶意的微笑溜我一眼,表明他已经认识了对方,因此,也表明他起了歹心,便问:“你爸爸是谁?”

“画眉田庄的林惇先生,”她回答。“我想你不认识我,不然就不会对我那样说话了。”

“那么你以为你爸爸很被人看得起,很受尊敬的吗?”他讽刺地说。

“你是什么人?”凯瑟琳问道,好奇地盯着这说话的人。

“那个人我是见过的。他是你的儿子吗?”

她指着哈里顿,这就是另一个人,他长了两岁什么也没改,就是粗壮些,更有力气些:他跟从前一样拙笨和粗鲁。

“凯蒂小姐,”我插嘴说,“我们出来不止一个钟头啦,现在快到三个钟头了,我们真得回家了。”

“不,那个人不是我的儿子,”希刺克厉夫回答,把我推开。“可是我有一个,你从前也看见过他,虽然你的保姆这么忙着走,我想你和她最好歇一会儿。你愿不愿意转过这长着常青灌木的山头,散步到我家里去呢?你休息一下,还可以早些回到家,而且你会受到款待。”

我低声对凯瑟琳说无论如何她决不能同意这个提议:那是完全不能考虑的。

“为什么?”她大声问着。“我已经跑累啦,地上又有露水;我不能坐在这儿呀。让我们去吧,艾伦。而且,他还说我见过他的儿子哩。我想他搞错了;可是我猜出他住在哪里;在我从盘尼斯吞岩来时去过的那个农舍。是不是?”

“是的。来吧,耐莉,不要多说话——进来看看我们,对于她将是件喜事哩。哈里顿,陪这姑娘往前走吧。耐莉,你跟我一道走。”

“不,她不能到这样的地方去,”我叫着,想挣脱被他抓住的胳臂:可是她已经差不多走到门前的石阶了,很快地跑着绕过屋檐。她那被指定陪她的伴侣并没装出护送她的样子:

他畏怯地走向路边,溜掉了。

“希刺克厉夫先生,那是很不对的,”我接着说,“你知道你是不怀好意的。她就要在那里看见林惇,等我们一回去,什么都要说出来,我会受到责备的。”

“我要她看看林惇,”他回答,“这几天他看来还好一点;他并不是常常适宜于被人看见的。等会我们可以劝她把这次拜访保密。这有什么害处呢?”

“害处是,如果她父亲发觉我竟允许她到你家来,就会恨我的;我相信你鼓励她这样作是有恶毒的打算的。”我回答。

“我的打算是极老实的。我可以全都告诉你,”他说。“就是要这两个表亲相爱而结婚。我对你的主人是做得很慷慨的!他这年轻的小闺女并没有什么指望,要是她能促成我的愿望,她就跟林惇一同作了继承人,马上就有了依靠。”

“如果林惇死了呢,”我回答,“他的命是保不住的,那么凯瑟琳就会成为继承人的。”

“不,她不会,”他说。“在遗嘱里并没有如此保证的条文:他的财产就要归我;但是为了避免争执起见,我愿意他们结合,而且也下决心促成这个。”

“我也下决心使她再也不会和我到你的住宅来。”我回嘴说,这时我们已经走到大门口。凯蒂小姐在那儿等着我们过来。

希刺克厉夫叫我别吭气,他走到我们前面,连忙去开门。我的小姐看了他好几眼,仿佛她在拿不定主意怎么对待他,可是现在当他的眼光与她相遇时,他微笑,并且柔声对她说话;我居然糊涂到以为他对她母亲的记忆也许会使他消除伤害她的愿望哩。林惇站在炉边。他才出去到田野散步过,因为他的小帽还戴着,正在叫约瑟夫给他拿双干净鞋来。就他的年龄来说,他已经长高了,还差几个月要满十六岁了。他的相貌挺好看,眼睛和气色也比我所记得的有精神些,虽然那仅仅是从有益健康的空气与和煦的阳光中借来的暂时的光辉。

“看,那是谁?”希刺克厉夫转身问凯蒂,“你说得出来吗?”

“你的儿子?”她疑惑地把他们两个人轮流打量一番,然后说。

“是啊,是啊,”他回答,“难道这是你第一次看见他吗?想想吧!啊!你记性太坏。林惇,你不记得你的表姐啦,你总是跟我们闹着要见她的啊?”

“什么,林惇!”凯蒂叫起来,为意外地听见这名字而兴高采烈起来。“那就是小林惇吗?他比我还高啦!你是林惇吗?”

这年轻人走向前来,承认他就是。她狂热地吻他,他们彼此凝视着,看到时光在彼此的外表上所造成的变化而惊奇。凯瑟琳已经长得够高了;她的身材又丰满又苗条,像钢丝一样地有弹性,整个容貌由于健康而精神焕发。林惇的神气和动作都很不活泼,他的外形也非常瘦弱;但是他的风度带着一种文雅,缓和了这些缺点,使他还不讨人厌。在和他互相交换多种形式的喜爱的表示之后,他的表姐走到希刺克厉夫先生跟前,他正留在门口,一面注意屋里的人,一面注意外面的事;这就是说,假装看外面,实际上只是注意屋里。

“那么,你是我的姑夫啦!”她叫着,走上前向他行礼。

“我本来就觉着挺喜欢你,虽然开始你对我不友好。你干吗不带林惇到田庄来呢?这些年住这么近,从来不来看看我们,可真古怪;你干吗这样呢?”

“在你出生以前,我去得太勤了;”他回答,“唉——倒霉!

你要是还有多余的吻,就都送给林惇吧——给我可是白糟蹋。”

“淘气的艾伦!”凯瑟琳叫着,然后又以她那过份热情的拥抱突然向我进攻。“坏艾伦!想不让我进来。可是将来我还要天天早上散步来这儿呢,可以吗,姑夫?有时候还带爸爸来。你喜欢不喜欢看见我们呢?”

“当然,”姑夫回答,现出一副难以压制的狞笑,这是由于他对这两位要来的客人的恶感所引起的。“可是等等,”他转身又对小姐说,“既然我想到了这点,还是告诉你为好。林惇先生对我有成见。我们吵过一次,吵得非常凶,你要是跟他说起你到过这儿,他就会根本禁止你来,因此你一定不要提这事,除非你今后并不在乎要看你表弟:要是你愿意,你可以来,可你决不能说出来。”

“你们为什么吵的?”凯瑟琳问,垂头丧气透了。

“他认为我太穷,不配娶他的妹妹,”希刺克厉夫回答,“我终于得到了她,这使他感到很难过。他的自尊心受到损伤,他永远也不能宽恕这件事。”

“那是不对的!”小姐说,“我迟早总会就这样对他说的。可是林惇和我并没有参加你们的争吵啊。那么我就不来了;他去田庄好啦。”

“对我来说是太远了,”他的表弟咕噜着,“要走四英里路可要把我累死了。不,来吧,凯瑟琳小姐,随时到这儿来吧——不要每天早晨来,一星期来一两次好了。”

父亲朝他儿子轻蔑地溜了一眼。

“耐莉,恐怕我要白费劲了,”他小声对我说。“凯瑟琳小姐(这呆子是这样称呼她的),会发现他的价值,就把他丢开了。要是哈里顿的话——别看哈里顿已全被贬低,我一天倒有二十回羡慕他呢!这孩子如果是别人我都会爱他了。不过我想他是得不到她的爱情的。我要使哈里顿反对那个不中用的东西,除非他赶快发奋振作起来。算算他很难活到十八岁。啊,该死的窝囊废!他在全神贯注地擦他的脚,连望都不望她一下。——林惇!”

“啊,父亲,”那孩子答应着。

“附近没有什么地方你可以领你表姐去看看吗?甚至连个兔子或者鼬鼠的窠都不去瞧瞧吗?在你换鞋之前先把她带到花园里玩,还可以到马厩去看看你的马。”

“你不是情愿坐在这儿吗?”林惇用一种表示不想动的声调问凯瑟琳。

“我不知道,”她回答,渴望地向门口瞧了一眼,显然盼望着活动活动。

他还坐着,向火炉那边更挨近些。希刺克厉夫站起来,走到厨房去,又从那儿走到院子叫哈里顿。哈里顿答应了,两个人立刻又进来了。那个年轻人刚洗完了澡,这可以从他脸上的光彩和他的湿头发看得出来。

“啊,我要问你啦,姑夫,”凯瑟琳喊着,记起了那管家的话,“那不是我的表哥吧,他是吗?”

“是的,”他回答,“你母亲的侄子。你不喜欢他吗?”

凯瑟琳神情很古怪。

“他不是一个漂亮的小伙子吗?”他接着说。

这个没礼貌的小东西踮起了脚尖,对着希刺克厉夫的耳朵小声说了一句话。他大笑起来,哈里顿的脸沉下来;我想他对猜疑到的轻蔑是很敏感的,而且显然对他的卑微有一个模糊的概念。但是他的主人或保护人却把他的怒气赶掉了,叫着:

“你要成为我们的宝贝啦,哈里顿!她说你是一个——是什么?好吧,反正是奉承人的话。喏,你陪她到田庄转转去。记住,举止要像个绅士!不要用任何坏字眼;在这位小姐不望着你的时候,你别死盯着她,当她望你时,你就准备闪开你的脸;你说话的时候,要慢,而且要把你的手从口袋里掏出来。走吧,尽力好好地招待她吧。”

他注视着这一对从窗前走过。恩萧让他的脸完全避开了他的同伴。他仿佛以一个陌生人而又是一个艺术家的兴趣在那儿研究着那熟悉的风景,凯瑟琳偷偷地看了他一眼,并没有表现出一点爱慕的神情。然后就把她的注意力转移到一些可以取乐的事情上面去了,并且欢欢喜喜地轻步向前走去,唱着曲子以弥补没话可谈。

“我把他的舌头捆住了,”希刺克厉夫观察着。“他会始终不敢说一个字!耐莉,你记得我在他那年纪的时候吧?——不,还比他小些。我也是这样笨相么:像约瑟夫所谓的这样‘莫名其妙’吗?”

“更糟,”我回答,“因为你比他更阴沉些。”

“我对他有兴趣,”他接着说,大声地说出他的想法。“他满足了我的心愿。如果他天生是个呆子,我就连一半乐趣也享受不到。可是他不是呆子;我能够同情他所有的感受,因为我自己也感受过。比如说,我准确地知道他现在感受到什么痛苦;虽然那不过是他所要受的痛苦的开始。他永远也不能从他那粗野无知中解脱出来。我把他抓得比他那无赖父亲管我还紧些,而且贬得更低些;因为他以他的野蛮而自负。我教他嘲笑一切兽性以外的东西,认为这些是愚蠢和软弱的。你不认为辛德雷要是能看见他的儿子的话,会感到骄傲吗?差不多会像我为我自己的儿子感到骄傲一样。可是有这个区别;一个是金子却当铺地的石头用了,另一个是锡擦亮了来仿制银器。我的儿子没有什么价值。可是我有本事使这类的草包尽量振作起来。他的儿子有头等的天赋,却荒废了,变得比没用还糟。我没有什么可惋惜的;他可会有很多,但是,除了我,谁也不曾留意到。最妙的是,哈里顿非常喜欢我,你可以承认在这一点上我胜过了辛德雷。如果这个死去的流氓能从坟墓里站起来谴责我对他的子嗣的虐待,我倒会开心地看到这个所说的子嗣把他打回去,为了他竟敢辱骂他在这世界上唯一的朋友而大为愤慨哩!”

希刺克厉夫一想到这里就格格地发出一种魔鬼似的笑声。我没有理他,因为我看出来他也不期待我回答。同时,我们的年轻同伴,他坐得离我们太远,听不见我们说什么,开始表示出不安的征象来了,大概是后悔不该为了怕受点累就拒绝和凯瑟琳一起玩。他的父亲注意到他那不安的眼光总往窗子那边溜,手犹豫不决地向帽子那边伸。

“起来,你这懒孩子!”他叫着,现出假装出来的热心。

“追他们去,他们正在那角上,在蜜蜂巢那边。”

林惇振作起精神,离开了炉火。窗子开着,当他走出去时,我听见凯蒂正问她那个不善交际的侍从,门上刻的是什么?哈里顿抬头呆望着,抓抓他的头活像个傻瓜。

“是些鬼字,”他回答。“我认不出。”

“认不出?”凯瑟琳叫起来,“我能念:那是英文。可是我想知道干吗刻在那儿。”

林惇吃吃地笑了:他第一次显出开心的神色。

“他不认识字,”他对他的表姐说。“你能相信会有这样的大笨蛋存在吗?”

“他一直就这样吗?”凯蒂小姐严肃地问道。“或者他头脑简单——不对吗?我问过他两次话了,而每一次他都作出这种傻相,我还以为他不懂得我的话呢。我担保我也不大懂得他!”

林惇又大笑起来,嘲弄地瞟着哈里顿;哈里顿在那会儿看来一定是还不大明白怎么回事。

“没有别的缘故,只是懒惰;是吧,恩萧?”他说。“我的表姐猜想你是个白痴哩。这下可让你尝到你嘲笑的所谓‘啃书本’所得的后果了。凯瑟琳,你注意到他那可怕的约克郡的口音没有?”

“哼,那有什么鬼用处?”哈里顿咕噜着,对他平时的同伴回嘴就方便多了。他还想再说下去,可是这两个年轻人忽然一齐大笑起来:我的轻浮的小姐很高兴地发现她可以把他的奇怪的话当作笑料了。

“那句话加个‘鬼’字有什么用呢?”林惇嗤笑着。“爸爸叫你不要说任何坏字眼,而你不说一个坏字眼就开不了口。努力像个绅士吧,现在试试看!”

“要不是因为您更像个女的,而不大像个男的的话,我马上就想把您打倒啦,我会的;可怜的瘦板条!”这大怒的乡下人回骂着,退却了,当时他的脸由于愤怒和羞耻烧得通红:因为他意识到被侮辱了,可又窘得不知道该怎么怨恨才是。

希刺克厉夫和我一样,也听见了这番话,他看见他走开就微笑了;可是马上又用特别嫌恶的眼光向这轻薄的一对瞅了一眼,他们还呆在门口瞎扯着;这个男孩子一讨论到哈里顿的错误和缺点,并且叙述他的怪举动和趣闻时,他的精神可就来了;而这小姑娘也爱听他的无礼刻薄的话,并不想想这些话中所表现的恶意。我可是开始不喜欢林惇了,憎恶的程度比以前的怜悯程度还要重些,也开始多少原谅他父亲这样看不起他了。

我们一直待到下午:我不能把凯瑟琳早点拉走;但是幸亏我的主人没有离开过他的屋子,一直不知道我们久久不回。在我们走回来的时候,我真想谈谈我们刚离开的这些人的性格,以此来开导开导我所照顾的人;可是她已经有了成见,反倒说我对他们有偏见了。

“啊哈,”她叫着,“你是站在爸爸这边的,艾伦。我知道你是有偏心的,不然你就不会骗我这么多年,说林惇住得离这儿很远。我真是非常生气,可我又是这么高兴,就发不出脾气来!但是你不许再说我姑夫;他是我的姑夫。记住,而且我还要骂爸爸,因为跟他吵过架。”

她就这样滔滔不绝地说着,到后来我只好放弃了使她觉悟到她的错误的努力。那天晚上她没有说起这次拜访,因为她没有看见林惇先生。第二天就都说出来了,使我懊恼之至;可我还不十分难过:我以为指导和警戒的担子由他担负比由我担负会有效多了。可是他懦弱得竟说不出如他所愿的令人满意的理由,好让她和山庄那个家绝交,凯瑟琳对于每一件压制她骄纵的意志的事却要有充分的理由才肯听从约束。

“爸爸,”她叫着,在请过早安之后,“猜猜我昨天在旷野上散步时看见了谁。啊,爸爸,你吃惊啦!现在你可知道你作得不对啦,是吧?我看见——可是听着,你要听听我怎么识破了你;还有艾伦,她跟你联盟,在我倒一直希望林惇回来,可又总是失望的时候还假装出可怜我的样子。”

她把她的出游和结果如实地说了;我的主人,虽然不止一次地向我投来谴责的眼光,却一语不发,直等她说完。然后他把她拉到跟前,问她知不知道他为什么把林惇住在邻近的事瞒住她!难道她以为那只是不让她去享受那毫无害处的快乐吗?

“那是因为你不喜欢希刺克厉夫先生,”她回答。

“那么你相信我关心我自己胜过关心你啦,凯蒂?”他说。

“不,那不是因为我不喜欢希刺克厉夫先生,而是因为希刺克厉夫先生不喜欢我;他是一个最凶恶的人,喜欢陷害和毁掉他所恨的人,只要这些人给了他一点点机会。我知道你若跟你表弟来往,就不能不和他接触;我也知道他为了我的缘故就会痛恨你,所以就是为了你自己好,没有别的,我才提防着让你不再看见林惇。我原想等你长大点的时候再跟你解释这件事的,我懊悔我把它拖延下来了。”

“可是希刺克厉夫先生挺诚恳的,爸爸。”凯瑟琳说。一点也没有被说服。“而且他并不反对我们见面;他说什么时候我高兴,我就可以去他家,就是要我绝对不能告诉你,因为你跟他吵过,不能饶恕他娶了伊莎贝拉姑姑。你真的不肯。你才是该受责备的人哩;他是愿意让我们作朋友的,至少是林惇和我;而你就不。”

我的主人看出来她不相信他所说的关于她姑夫的狠毒的话,便把希刺克厉夫对伊莎贝拉的行为,以及呼啸山庄如何变成他的产业,都草草地说了个梗概。他不能将这事说得太多;因为即使他说了一点点,却仍然感到自林惇夫人死后所占据在他心上的那种对过去的仇人的恐怖与痛恨之感。‘要不是因为他,她也许还会活着!’这是他经常有的痛苦的念头;在他眼中,希刺克厉夫就仿佛是一个杀人犯。凯蒂小姐——完全没接触过任何罪恶的行径,只有她自己因暴躁脾气或轻率而引起的不听话,误解,或发发脾气而已。而总是当天犯了,当天就会改过——因此对于人的心灵深处能够盘算和隐藏报复心达好多年,而且一心要实现他的计划却毫无悔恨之念,这点使凯瑟琳大为惊奇。这种对人性的新看法,仿佛给她很深的印象,并且使她震动——直到现在为止,这看法一向是在她所有的学习与思考范围之外的——因此埃德加先生认为没有必要再谈这题目了。他只是又说了一句:

“今后你就会知道,亲爱的,为什么我希望你躲开他的房子和他的家了;现在你去作你往常的事,照旧去玩吧,别再想这些了!”

凯瑟琳亲了亲她父亲,安静地坐下来读她的功课,跟平常一样,读了两小时。然后她陪他到园林走走,一整天和平常一样地过去了。但是到晚上,当她回到她的房间里去休息,我去帮她脱衣服时,我发现她跪在床边哭着。

“啊,羞呀,傻孩子!”我叫着。“要是你有过真正的悲哀,你就会觉得你为了这点小别扭掉眼泪是可耻的了。你从来没有过一点真正的悲痛的影子,凯瑟琳小姐。假定说,主人和我一下子都死了,就剩你自己活在世上:那么你将感到怎么样呢?把现在的情况和这么一种苦恼比较一下,你就该感谢你已经有了朋友,不要再贪多啦。”

“我不是为自己哭,艾伦,”她回答,“是为他。他希望明天再看见我的。可他要失望啦:他要等着我,而我又不会去!”

“无聊!”我说,“你以为他也在想你吗?他不是有哈里顿作伴吗?一百个人里也不会有一个为着失去一个才见过两次——只是两个下午的亲戚而落泪的。林惇可会猜到这究竟是怎么回事,才不会再为你烦恼的。”

“可是我可不可以写个短信告诉他我为什么不能去了呢?”她问,站起来了。“就把我答应借给他的书送去?他的书没我的好,在我告诉他我的书是多有趣的时候,他非常想看看这些呢。我不可以吗,艾伦?”

“不行,真的不行!”我决断地回答。“这样他又要写信给你,那可就永远没完没了啦。不,凯瑟琳小姐,必须完全断绝来往:爸爸这么希望,我就得照这么办。”

“可一张小纸条怎么能——?”她又开口了,作出一脸的恳求相。

“别胡扯啦!”我打断她。“我们不要再谈你的小纸条啦。

上床去吧。”

她对我作出非常淘气的表情,淘气得我起先都不想吻她和道晚安了,我极不高兴地用被把她盖好,把她的门关上;但是,半路又后悔了,我轻轻地走回头,瞧!小姐站在桌边,她面前是一张白纸,手里拿一支铅笔,我一进去,她正偷偷地把它藏起来。

“你找不到人给你送去,凯瑟琳,”我说,“就算你写的话,现在我可要熄掉你的蜡烛了。”

我把熄烛帽放在火苗上的时候,手上被打了一下,还听见一声急躁的“别扭东西”!然后我又离开了她,她在一种最坏的、最乖张的心情中上了门闩。信还是写了,而且由村里来的一个送牛奶的人送到目的地去;可是当时我不知道,直到很久以后才知道。几个星期过去了,凯蒂的脾气也平复下来;不过她变得特别喜欢一个人躲在角落里;而且往往在她看书的时候,如果我忽然走近她,她就会一惊,伏在书本上,显然想盖住那书。我看出在书页中有散张的纸边露出来。她还有个诡计,就是一清早就下楼,在厨房里留连不去,好像她正在等着什么东西到来似的,在图书室的一个书橱中,她有一个小抽屉:她常翻腾好半天,走开的时候总特别小心地把抽屉的钥匙带着。

一天,她正在翻这个抽屉时,我看见最近放在里面的玩具和零碎全变成一张张折好的纸张了。我的好奇心和疑惑被激起来了,我决定偷看她那神秘的宝藏。因此,到了夜晚,等她和我的主人都安稳地在楼上时,我就在我这串家用钥匙里搜索着,找出一把可以开抽屉锁的钥匙。一打开抽屉,我就把里面所有的东西都倒在我的围裙里,再带到我自己的屋子里从容地检查着。虽然我早就疑心,可我仍然惊讶地发现原来是一大堆信件——一定是差不多每天一封——从林惇·希刺克厉夫来的:都是她写去的信的回信。早期的信写得拘谨而短;但是渐渐地,这些信发展成内容丰富的情书了,写得很笨拙,这就作者的年龄来说是自然的;可是有不少句子据我想是从一个比较有经验的人那里借来的。有些信使我感到简直古怪,混杂着热情和平淡;以强烈的情感开始,结尾却是矫揉造作的、啰嗦的笔调,如一个中学生写给他的一个幻想的、不真实的情人一样。这些能否满足凯蒂,我不知道;可是,在我看来是非常没有价值的废物。翻阅过我认为该翻的一些信件之后,我将这些用手绢包起来,放在一边,重新锁上这个空抽屉。

我的小姐根据她的习惯,老早就下楼,到厨房里去了:我瞅见当某一个小男孩到来的时候,她走到门口,在挤奶的女工朝她的罐子里倒牛奶时,她就把什么东西塞进他的背心口袋里,又从里面扯出什么东西来。我绕到花园里,在那儿等着这送信的使者;他英勇地战斗,以保护他的受委托之物,我们抢得把牛奶都泼翻了;但是我终于成功地抽出来那封信;还威吓他说如果他不径自回家去,即将有严重的后果,我就留在墙跟底下阅读凯蒂小姐的爱情作品。这比她表弟的信简洁流利多了:写得很漂亮,也很傻气。我摇摇头,沉思着走进屋里。这一天很潮湿,她不能到花园里溜达解闷;所以早读结束后,她就向抽屉找安慰去了。她父亲坐在桌子那边看书;我呢,故意找点事作,去整理窗帘上几条扯不开的繐子,眼睛死盯着她的动静。任何鸟儿飞回它那先前离开时还充满着啾啾鸣叫的小雏,后来却被抢劫一空的巢里时,所发出的悲鸣与骚动,都比不上那一声简单的“啊!”和她那快乐的脸色因突变而表现出那种完完全全的绝望的神态。林惇先生抬头望望。

“怎么啦,宝贝儿?碰痛你哪儿啦?”他说。

他的声调和表情使她确信他不是发现宝藏的人。

“不是,爸爸!”她喘息着。“艾伦!艾伦!上楼吧——我病了!”

我服从了她的召唤,陪她出去了。

“啊,艾伦!你把那些拿去啦,”当我们走到屋里,没有别人的时候,她马上就开口了,还跪了下来!“啊,把那些给我吧,我再也不,再也不这样作啦!别告诉爸爸。你没有告诉爸爸吧,艾伦?说你没有,我是太淘气啦,可是我以后再也不这样啦!”

我带着极严肃的神情叫她站起来。

“所以,”我慨叹着,“凯瑟琳小姐,看来你任性得太过分啦,你该为这些害羞!你真的在闲的时候读这么一大堆废物呀:咳,好得可以拿去出版啦,我要是把信摆在主人面前,你以为他有什么想法呢?我还没有给他看,可你用不着幻想我会保守你这荒唐的秘密。羞!一定是你领头写这些愚蠢的东西!我肯定他是不会想到的。”

“我没有!我没有!”凯蒂抽泣着,简直伤心透了。“我一次也没有想到过爱他,直到——”

“爱!”我叫着,尽量用讥嘲的语气吐出这个字来。“爱!有什么人听到过这类事情么!那我也可以对一年来买一次我们谷子的那个磨坊主大谈其爱啦。好一个爱,真是!而你这辈子才看见过林惇两次,加起来还不到四个钟头!喏,这是小孩子的胡说八道。我要把信带到书房里去;我们要看看你父亲对于这种爱说什么。”

她跳起来抢她的宝贝信,可是我把它们高举在头顶上;然后她发出许多狂热的恳求,恳求我烧掉它们——随便怎么处置也比公开它们好。我真是想笑又想骂——因为我估计这完全是女孩子的虚荣心——我终于有几分心软了,便问道——

“如果我同意烧掉它们,你能诚实地答应不再送出或收进一封信,或者一本书(因为我看见你给他送过书),或者一卷头发,或者戒指,或者玩意儿?”

“我们不送玩意儿,”凯瑟琳叫着,她的骄傲征服了她的羞耻。

“那么,什么也不送,我的小姐?”我说。“除非你愿意这样,要不然我就走啦。”

“我答应,艾伦,”她叫着,拉住我的衣服。“啊,把它们丢在火里吧,丢吧,丢吧!”

但是当我用火钳拨开一块地方时,这样的牺牲可真是太痛苦了。她热切地哀求我给她留下一两封。

“一两封,艾伦,为了林惇的缘故留下来吧!”

我解开手绢,开始把它们从手绢角里向外倒,火焰卷上了烟囱。

“我要一封,你这残忍的坏人!”她尖声叫着,伸手到火里,抓出一些烧了一半的纸片,当然她的手指头也因此吃了点亏。

“很好——我也要留点拿给爸爸看看,”我回答着,把剩下的又抖回手绢去,重新转身向门口走。

她把她那些烧焦了的纸片又扔到火里去,向我做手势要我完成这个祭祀。烧完了,我搅搅灰烬,用一铲子煤把这些埋起来,她一声也不吭,怀着十分委屈的心情,退到她自己的屋里,我下楼告诉我主人,小姐的急病差不多已经好了。可是我认为最好让她躺一会。她不肯吃饭;可是在吃茶时她又出现了,面色苍白,眼圈红红的,外表上克制得惊人。

第二天早上我用一张纸条当作回信,上面写着,“请希刺克厉夫少爷不要再写信给林惇小姐,她是不会接受的。”自此以后那个小男孩来时,口袋便是空空的了。


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