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傲慢与偏见 (PRIDE AND PREJUDICE)第四十三章

双击单词可弹出解释框  时间:2010-07-16 21:14  作者:

ELIZABETH, as they drove along, watched for the first appearance of Pemberley Woods with some perturbation; and when at length they turned in at the lodge, her spirits were in a high flutter.
The park was very large, and contained great variety of ground. They entered it in one of its lowest points, and drove for some time through a beautiful wood, stretching over a wide extent.

Elizabeth's mind was too full for conversation, but she saw and admired every remarkable spot and point of view. They gradually ascended for half a mile, and then found themselves at the top of a considerable eminence, where the wood ceased, and the eye was instantly caught by Pemberley House, situated on the opposite side of a valley, into which the road, with some abruptness, wound. It was a large, handsome, stone building, standing well on rising ground, and backed by a ridge of high woody hills; -- and in front, a stream of some natural importance was swelled into greater, but without any artificial appearance. Its banks were neither formal, nor falsely adorned. Elizabeth was delighted. She had never seen a place for which nature had done more, or where natural beauty had been so little counteracted by an awkward taste. They were all of them warm in their admiration; and at that moment she felt that to be mistress of Pemberley might be something!

They descended the hill, crossed the bridge, and drove to the door; and, while examining the nearer aspect of the house, all her apprehensions of meeting its owner returned. She dreaded lest the chambermaid had been mistaken. On applying to see the place, they were admitted into the hall; and Elizabeth, as they waited for the housekeeper, had leisure to wonder at her being where she was.

The housekeeper came; a respectable-looking, elderly woman, much less fine, and more civil, than she had any notion of finding her. They followed her into the dining-parlour. It was a large, well-proportioned room, handsomely fitted up. Elizabeth, after slightly surveying it, went to a window to enjoy its prospect. The hill, crowned with wood, from which they had descended, receiving increased abruptness from the distance, was a beautiful object. Every disposition of the ground was good; and she looked on the whole scene -- the river, the trees scattered on its banks, and the winding of the valley, as far as she could trace it -- with delight. As they passed into other rooms, these objects were taking different positions; but from every window there were beauties to be seen. The rooms were lofty and handsome, and their furniture suitable to the fortune of their proprietor; but Elizabeth saw, with admiration of his taste, that it was neither gaudy nor uselessly fine; with less of splendor, and more real elegance, than the furniture of Rosings.

"And of this place," thought she, "I might have been mistress! With these rooms I might now have been familiarly acquainted! Instead of viewing them as a stranger, I might have rejoiced in them as my own, and welcomed to them as visitors my uncle and aunt. -- But no," -- recollecting herself, -- "that could never be: my uncle and aunt would have been lost to me: I should not have been allowed to invite them." This was a lucky recollection -- it saved her from something like regret.

She longed to enquire of the housekeeper whether her master were really absent, but had not courage for it. At length, however, the question was asked by her uncle; and she turned away with alarm, while Mrs. Reynolds replied that he was, adding, "but we expect him tomorrow, with a large party of friends." How rejoiced was Elizabeth that their own journey had not by any circumstance been delayed a day!

Her aunt now called her to look at a picture. She approached, and saw the likeness of Mr. Wickham suspended, amongst several other miniatures, over the mantlepiece. Her aunt asked her, smilingly, how she liked it. The housekeeper came forward, and told them it was the picture of a young gentleman, the son of her late master's steward, who had been brought up by him at his own expence. -- "He is now gone into the army," she added, "but I am afraid he has turned out very wild."

Mrs. Gardiner looked at her niece with a smile, but Elizabeth could not return it.

"And that," said Mrs. Reynolds, pointing to another of the miniatures, "is my master -- and very like him. It was drawn at the same time as the other -- about eight years ago."

"I have heard much of your master's fine person," said Mrs. Gardiner, looking at the picture; "it is a handsome face. But, Lizzy, you can tell us whether it is like or not."

Mrs. Reynolds's respect for Elizabeth seemed to increase on this intimation of her knowing her master.

"Does that young lady know Mr. Darcy?"

Elizabeth coloured, and said -- "A little."

"And do not you think him a very handsome gentleman, Ma'am?"

"Yes, very handsome."

"I am sure I know none so handsome; but in the gallery up stairs you will see a finer, larger picture of him than this. This room was my late master's favourite room, and these miniatures are just as they used to be then. He was very fond of them."

This accounted to Elizabeth for Mr. Wickham's being among them.

Mrs. Reynolds then directed their attention to one of Miss Darcy, drawn when she was only eight years old.

"And is Miss Darcy as handsome as her brother?" said Mr. Gardiner.

"Oh! yes -- the handsomest young lady that ever was seen; and so accomplished! -- She plays and sings all day long. In the next room is a new instrument just come down for her -- a present from my master; she comes here to-morrow with him."

Mr. Gardiner, whose manners were easy and pleasant, encouraged her communicativeness by his questions and remarks; Mrs. Reynolds, either from pride or attachment, had evidently great pleasure in talking of her master and his sister.

"Is your master much at Pemberley in the course of the year?"

"Not so much as I could wish, Sir; but I dare say he may spend half his time here; and Miss Darcy is always down for the summer months."

"Except," thought Elizabeth, "when she goes to Ramsgate."

"If your master would marry, you might see more of him."

"Yes, Sir; but I do not know when that will be. I do not know who is good enough for him."

Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner smiled. Elizabeth could not help saying, "It is very much to his credit, I am sure, that you should think so."

"I say no more than the truth, and what every body will say that knows him," replied the other. Elizabeth thought this was going pretty far; and she listened with increasing astonishment as the housekeeper added, "I have never had a cross word from him in my life, and I have known him ever since he was four years old."

This was praise, of all others most extraordinary, most opposite to her ideas. That he was not a good tempered man had been her firmest opinion. Her keenest attention was awakened; she longed to hear more, and was grateful to her uncle for saying,

"There are very few people of whom so much can be said. You are lucky in having such a master."

"Yes, Sir, I know I am. If I was to go through the world, I could not meet with a better. But I have always observed that they who are good-natured when children are good-natured when they grow up; and he was always the sweetest-tempered, most generous-hearted, boy in the world."

Elizabeth almost stared at her. -- "Can this be Mr. Darcy!" thought she.

"His father was an excellent man," said Mrs. Gardiner.

"Yes, Ma'am, that he was indeed; and his son will be just like him -- just as affable to the poor."

Elizabeth listened, wondered, doubted, and was impatient for more. Mrs. Reynolds could interest her on no other point. She related the subject of the pictures, the dimensions of the rooms, and the price of the furniture, in vain. Mr. Gardiner, highly amused by the kind of family prejudice to which he attributed her excessive commendation of her master, soon led again to the subject; and she dwelt with energy on his many merits, as they proceeded together up the great staircase.

"He is the best landlord, and the best master," said she, "that ever lived. Not like the wild young men now-a-days, who think of nothing but themselves. There is not one of his tenants or servants but what will give him a good name. Some people call him proud; but I am sure I never saw any thing of it. To my fancy, it is only because he does not rattle away like other young men."

"In what an amiable light does this place him!" thought Elizabeth.

"This fine account of him," whispered her aunt, as they walked, "is not quite consistent with his behaviour to our poor friend."

"Perhaps we might be deceived."

"That is not very likely; our authority was too good."

On reaching the spacious lobby above, they were shewn into a very pretty sitting-room, lately fitted up with greater elegance and lightness than the apartments below; and were informed that it was but just done to give pleasure to Miss Darcy, who had taken a liking to the room when last at Pemberley.

"He is certainly a good brother," said Elizabeth, as she walked towards one of the windows.

Mrs. Reynolds anticipated Miss Darcy's delight when she should enter the room. "And this is always the way with him," she added. -- "Whatever can give his sister any pleasure is sure to be done in a moment. There is nothing he would not do for her."

The picture gallery, and two or three of the principal bedrooms, were all that remained to be shewn. In the former were many good paintings; but Elizabeth knew nothing of the art; and from such as had been already visible below, she had willingly turned to look at some drawings of Miss Darcy's, in crayons, whose subjects were usually more interesting, and also more intelligible.

In the gallery there were many family portraits, but they could have little to fix the attention of a stranger. Elizabeth walked on in quest of the only face whose features would be known to her. At last it arrested her -- and she beheld a striking resemblance of Mr. Darcy, with such a smile over the face as she remembered to have sometimes seen, when he looked at her. She stood several minutes before the picture in earnest contemplation, and returned to it again before they quitted the gallery. Mrs. Reynolds informed them that it had been taken in his father's life time.

There was certainly at this moment, in Elizabeth's mind, a more gentle sensation towards the original than she had ever felt in the height of their acquaintance. The commendation bestowed on him by Mrs. Reynolds was of no trifling nature. What praise is more valuable than the praise of an intelligent servant? As a brother, a landlord, a master, she considered how many people's happiness were in his guardianship! -- How much of pleasure or pain it was in his power to bestow! -- How much of good or evil must be done by him! Every idea that had been brought forward by the housekeeper was favourable to his character, and as she stood before the canvas, on which he was represented, and fixed his eyes upon herself, she thought of his regard with a deeper sentiment of gratitude than it had ever raised before; she remembered its warmth, and softened its impropriety of expression.

When all of the house that was open to general inspection had been seen, they returned down stairs, and, taking leave of the housekeeper, were consigned over to the gardener, who met them at the hall door.

As they walked across the lawn towards the river, Elizabeth turned back to look again; her uncle and aunt stopped also, and while the former was conjecturing as to the date of the building, the owner of it himself suddenly came forward from the road, which led behind it to the stables.

They were within twenty yards of each other, and so abrupt was his appearance, that it was impossible to avoid his sight. Their eyes instantly met, and the cheeks of each were overspread with the deepest blush. He absolutely started, and for a moment seemed immoveable from surprise; but shortly recovering himself, advanced towards the party, and spoke to Elizabeth, if not in terms of perfect composure, at least of perfect civility.

She had instinctively turned away; but, stopping on his approach, received his compliments with an embarrassment impossible to be overcome. Had his first appearance, or his resemblance to the picture they had just been examining, been insufficient to assure the other two that they now saw Mr. Darcy, the gardener's expression of surprise on beholding his master must immediately have told it. They stood a little aloof while he was talking to their niece, who, astonished and confused, scarcely dared lift her eyes to his face, and knew not what answer she returned to his civil enquiries after her family. Amazed at the alteration in his manner since they last parted, every sentence that he uttered was increasing her embarrassment; and every idea of the impropriety of her being found there recurring to her mind, the few minutes in which they continued together were some of the most uncomfortable of her life. Nor did he seem much more at ease; when he spoke, his accent had none of its usual sedateness; and he repeated his enquiries as to the time of her having left Longbourn, and of her stay in Derbyshire, so often, and in so hurried a way, as plainly spoke the distraction of his thoughts.

At length, every idea seemed to fail him; and, after standing a few moments without saying a word, he suddenly recollected himself, and took leave.

The others then joined her, and expressed their admiration of his figure; but Elizabeth heard not a word, and, wholly engrossed by her own feelings, followed them in silence. She was overpowered by shame and vexation. Her coming there was the most unfortunate, the most ill-judged thing in the world! How strange must it appear to him! In what a disgraceful light might it not strike so vain a man! It might seem as if she had purposely thrown herself in his way again! Oh! why did she come? or, why did he thus come a day before he was expected? Had they been only ten minutes sooner, they should have been beyond the reach of his discrimination, for it was plain that he was that moment arrived, that moment alighted from his horse or his carriage. She blushed again and again over the perverseness of the meeting. And his behaviour, so strikingly altered, -- what could it mean? That he should even speak to her was amazing! -- but to speak with such civility, to enquire after her family! Never in her life had she seen his manners so little dignified, never had he spoken with such gentleness as on this unexpected meeting. What a contrast did it offer to his last address in Rosings Park, when he put his letter into her hand! She knew not what to think, nor how to account for it.

They had now entered a beautiful walk by the side of the water, and every step was bringing forward a nobler fall of ground, or a finer reach of the woods to which they were approaching; but it was some time before Elizabeth was sensible of any of it; and, though she answered mechanically to the repeated appeals of her uncle and aunt, and seemed to direct her eyes to such objects as they pointed out, she distinguished no part of the scene. Her thoughts were all fixed on that one spot of Pemberley House, whichever it might be, where Mr. Darcy then was. She longed to know what at that moment was passing in his mind; in what manner he thought of her, and whether, in defiance of every thing, she was still dear to him. Perhaps he had been civil only because he felt himself at ease; yet there had been that in his voice which was not like ease. Whether he had felt more of pain or of pleasure in seeing her, she could not tell, but he certainly had not seen her with composure.

At length, however, the remarks of her companions on her absence of mind roused her, and she felt the necessity of appearing more like herself.

They entered the woods, and bidding adieu to the river for a while, ascended some of the higher grounds; whence, in spots where the opening of the trees gave the eye power to wander, were many charming views of the valley, the opposite hills, with the long range of woods overspreading many, and occasionally part of the stream. Mr. Gardiner expressed a wish of going round the whole Park, but feared it might be beyond a walk. With a triumphant smile, they were told that it was ten miles round. It settled the matter; and they pursued the accustomed circuit; which brought them again, after some time, in a descent among hanging woods, to the edge of the water, in one of its narrowest parts. They crossed it by a simple bridge, in character with the general air of the scene; it was a spot less adorned than any they had yet visited; and the valley, here contracted into a glen, allowed room only for the stream, and a narrow walk amidst the rough coppice-wood which bordered it. Elizabeth longed to explore its windings; but when they had crossed the bridge, and perceived their distance from the house, Mrs. Gardiner, who was not a great walker, could go no farther, and thought only of returning to the carriage as quickly as possible. Her niece was, therefore, obliged to submit, and they took their way towards the house on the opposite side of the river, in the nearest direction; but their progress was slow, for Mr. Gardiner, though seldom able to indulge the taste, was very fond of fishing, and was so much engaged in watching the occasional appearance of some trout in the water, and talking to the man about them, that he advanced but little. Whilst wandering on in this slow manner, they were again surprised, and Elizabeth's astonishment was quite equal to what it had been at first, by the sight of Mr. Darcy approaching them, and at no great distance. The walk being here less sheltered than on the other side, allowed them to see him before they met. Elizabeth, however astonished, was at least more prepared for an interview than before, and resolved to appear and to speak with calmness, if he really intended to meet them. For a few moments, indeed, she felt that he would probably strike into some other path. This idea lasted while a turning in the walk concealed him from their view; the turning past, he was immediately before them. With a glance she saw that he had lost none of his recent civility; and, to imitate his politeness, she began, as they met, to admire the beauty of the place; but she had not got beyond the words "delightful," and "charming," when some unlucky recollections obtruded, and she fancied that praise of Pemberley from her might be mischievously construed. Her colour changed, and she said no more.

Mrs. Gardiner was standing a little behind; and on her pausing, he asked her if she would do him the honour of introducing him to her friends. This was a stroke of civility for which she was quite unprepared; and she could hardly suppress a smile at his being now seeking the acquaintance of some of those very people against whom his pride had revolted, in his offer to herself. "What will be his surprise," thought she, "when he knows who they are! He takes them now for people of fashion."

The introduction, however, was immediately made; and as she named their relationship to herself, she stole a sly look at him, to see how he bore it; and was not without the expectation of his decamping as fast as he could from such disgraceful companions. That he was surprised by the connexion was evident; he sustained it however with fortitude, and so far from going away, turned back with them, and entered into conversation with Mr. Gardiner. Elizabeth could not but be pleased, could not but triumph. It was consoling that he should know she had some relations for whom there was no need to blush. She listened most attentively to all that passed between them, and gloried in every expression, every sentence of her uncle, which marked his intelligence, his taste, or his good manners.

The conversation soon turned upon fishing, and she heard Mr. Darcy invite him, with the greatest civility, to fish there as often as he chose while he continued in the neighbourhood, offering at the same time to supply him with fishing tackle, and pointing out those parts of the stream where there was usually most sport. Mrs. Gardiner, who was walking arm in arm with Elizabeth, gave her a look expressive of her wonder. Elizabeth said nothing, but it gratified her exceedingly; the compliment must be all for herself. Her astonishment, however, was extreme; and continually was she repeating, "Why is he so altered? From what can it proceed? It cannot be for me, it cannot be for my sake that his manners are thus softened. My reproofs at Hunsford could not work such a change as this. It is impossible that he should still love me."

After walking some time in this way, the two ladies in front, the two gentlemen behind, on resuming their places after descending to the brink of the river for the better inspection of some curious water-plant, there chanced to be a little alteration. It originated in Mrs. Gardiner, who, fatigued by the exercise of the morning, found Elizabeth's arm inadequate to her support, and consequently preferred her husband's. Mr. Darcy took her place by her niece, and they walked on together. After a short silence, the lady first spoke. She wished him to know that she had been assured of his absence before she came to the place, and accordingly began by observing that his arrival had been very unexpected -- "for your housekeeper," she added, "informed us that you would certainly not be here till to-morrow; and indeed, before we left Bakewell we understood that you were not immediately expected in the country." He acknowledged the truth of it all; and said that business with his steward had occasioned his coming forward a few hours before the rest of the party with whom he had been travelling. "They will join me early tomorrow," he continued, "and among them are some who will claim an acquaintance with you, -- Mr. Bingley and his sisters."

Elizabeth answered only by a slight bow. Her thoughts were instantly driven back to the time when Mr. Bingley's name had been last mentioned between them; and if she might judge from his complexion, his mind was not very differently engaged.

"There is also one other person in the party," he continued after a pause, "who more particularly wishes to be known to you, -- Will you allow me, or do I ask too much, to introduce my sister to your acquaintance during your stay at Lambton?"

The surprise of such an application was great indeed; it was too great for her to know in what manner she acceded to it. She immediately felt that whatever desire Miss Darcy might have of being acquainted with her must be the work of her brother, and without looking farther, it was satisfactory; it was gratifying to know that his resentment had not made him think really ill of her.

They now walked on in silence; each of them deep in thought. Elizabeth was not comfortable; that was impossible; but she was flattered and pleased. His wish of introducing his sister to her was a compliment of the highest kind. They soon outstripped the others, and when they had reached the carriage, Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner were half a quarter of a mile behind.

He then asked her to walk into the house -- but she declared herself not tired, and they stood together on the lawn. At such a time, much might have been said, and silence was very awkward. She wanted to talk, but there seemed an embargo on every subject. At last she recollected that she had been travelling, and they talked of Matlock and Dove Dale with great perseverance. Yet time and her aunt moved slowly -- and her patience and her ideas were nearly worn out before the te^te-a`-te^te was over. On Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner's coming up, they were all pressed to go into the house and take some refreshment; but this was declined, and they parted on each side with the utmost politeness. Mr. Darcy handed the ladies into the carriage, and when it drove off, Elizabeth saw him walking slowly towards the house.

The observations of her uncle and aunt now began; and each of them pronounced him to be infinitely superior to any thing they had expected. "He is perfectly well behaved, polite, and unassuming," said her uncle.

"There is something a little stately in him to be sure," replied her aunt, "but it is confined to his air, and is not unbecoming. I can now say with the housekeeper, that though some people may call him proud, I have seen nothing of it."

"I was never more surprised than by his behaviour to us. It was more than civil; it was really attentive; and there was no necessity for such attention. His acquaintance with Elizabeth was very trifling."

"To be sure, Lizzy," said her aunt, "he is not so handsome as Wickham; or rather he has not Wickham's countenance, for his features are perfectly good. But how came you to tell us that he was so disagreeable?"

Elizabeth excused herself as well as she could; said that she had liked him better when they met in Kent than before, and that she had never seen him so pleasant as this morning.

"But perhaps he may be a little whimsical in his civilities," replied her uncle. "Your great men often are; and therefore I shall not take him at his word about fishing, as he might change his mind another day, and warn me off his grounds."

Elizabeth felt that they had entirely mistaken his character, but said nothing.

"From what we have seen of him," continued Mrs. Gardiner, "I really should not have thought that he could have behaved in so cruel a way by any body, as he has done by poor Wickham. He has not an ill-natured look. On the contrary, there is something pleasing about his mouth when he speaks. And there is something of dignity in his countenance, that would not give one an unfavourable idea of his heart. But to be sure, the good lady who shewed us the house did give him a most flaming character! I could hardly help laughing aloud sometimes. But he is a liberal master, I suppose, and that in the eye of a servant comprehends every virtue."

Elizabeth here felt herself called on to say something in vindication of his behaviour to Wickham; and therefore gave them to understand, in as guarded a manner as she could, that by what she had heard from his relations in Kent, his actions were capable of a very different construction; and that his character was by no means so faulty, nor Wickham's so amiable, as they had been considered in Hertfordshire. In confirmation of this, she related the particulars of all the pecuniary transactions in which they had been connected, without actually naming her authority, but stating it to be such as might be relied on.

Mrs. Gardiner was surprised and concerned; but as they were now approaching the scene of her former pleasures, every idea gave way to the charm of recollection; and she was too much engaged in pointing out to her husband all the interesting spots in its environs to think of any thing else. Fatigued as she had been by the morning's walk, they had no sooner dined than she set off again in quest of her former acquaintance, and the evening was spent in the satisfactions of an intercourse renewed after many years discontinuance.

The occurrences of the day were too full of interest to leave Elizabeth much attention for any of these new friends; and she could do nothing but think, and think with wonder, of Mr. Darcy's civility, and above all, of his wishing her to be acquainted with his sister.

他们坐着车子一直向前去。彭伯里的树林一出现在眼前,伊丽莎白就有些心慌;等到走进了庄园,她更加心神不定。

花园很大,只见里边高阜低洼,气象万千。他们拣一个最低的地方走进了园,在一座深邃辽阔的美丽的树林里坐着车子走了好久。

伊丽莎白满怀感触,无心说话,可是看到了每一处、每一角的美景,她都叹赏不已。他们沿着上坡路慢慢儿走了半英里光景,最后来到了一个相当高的山坡上,这也就是树林子尽头的地方,彭伯里大厦马上映入眼帘。房子在山谷那边,有一条相当陡斜的路曲曲折折地通到谷中。这是一幢很大很漂亮的石头建筑物,屹立在高垅上,屋子后面枕着一连片树林茂密的高高的小山冈;屋前一泓颇有天然情趣的溪流正在涨潮,没有一丝一毫人工的痕迹。两岸的点缀既不呆板,也不做作。伊丽莎白高兴极了。她从来不曾看到过一个比这里更富于自然情趣的地方,也没有见过任何地方的自然之美能象这儿一样的不受到庸俗的沾损。大家都热烈地赞赏不已,伊丽莎白顿时不禁觉得:在彭伯里当个主妇也还不错吧。他们下了山坡,过了桥,一直驶到大厦门前,欣赏那附近一带的景物,伊丽莎白这时候不免又起了一阵疑惧,生怕闯见主人。她担心旅馆里的侍女弄错了。他们请求进去参观,立刻被让进客厅;大家都在等着管家奶奶,这时候伊丽莎白方才想起身在何处。

管家奶奶来了,是一个态度端庄的老妇人,远不如她们想象中那么有丰姿,可是礼貌的周到倒出乎她的想象。他们跟着她走进了餐室。那是一间宽敞舒适的大屋子,布置得很精致。伊丽莎白稍许看了一下,便走到窗口欣赏风景。他们望着刚才下来的那座小山,只见丛林密布,从远处望去益发显得陡峭,真是个美丽的地方。处处都收拾得很美观。她纵目四望,只见一弯河道,林木夹岸,山谷蜿蜒曲折,真看得她心旷神怡。他们再走到别的房间里去看,每换一个房间,景致总会两样,可是不管你走到哪个窗口,都自有秀色可餐。一个个房间都高大美观,家具陈设也和主人的身份颇为相称,既不俗气,又不过分侈丽,比起罗新斯来,可以说是豪华不足,风雅有余,伊丽莎白看了,很佩服主人的情趣。她心里想:“我差一点就做了这儿的主妇呢!这些房间也许早就让我走熟了!我非但不必以一个陌生人的身份来参观,而且还可以当作自己的住宅来受用,把舅父母当做贵客欢迎。可是不行,”她忽然想了起来,“这是万万办不到的事:那时候我就见不到舅父母了,他决不会允许我邀他们来。”

她幸亏想起了这一点,才没有后悔当初的事。

她真想问问这位管家奶奶,主人是否真不在家,可是她没有勇气,只得作罢。不过她舅父终于代她问出了这一句话,使她大为慌张,连忙别转头去,只听见雷诺奶奶回答道,他的确不在家。接着又说,“可是明天会回家,还要带来许多朋友。”伊丽莎白听了真高兴,幸亏他们没有迟一天到这儿来。

她的舅母叫她去看一张画像。她走近前去,看见那是韦翰的肖像,和另外几张小型画像夹在一起,挂在壁炉架的上方。舅母笑嘻嘻地问她觉得好不好。管家奶奶走过来说,画像上这位年轻人是老主人的帐房的儿子,由老主人一手把他栽培起来。她又说道:

“他现在到军队里去了,我怕他已经变得很浪荡了。”

嘉丁纳太太笑吟吟地对她外甥女儿望了一眼,可是伊丽莎白实在笑不出来。

雷诺奶奶指着另一张画像说,“这就是我的小主人,画得象极了。跟那一张是同时画的,大约有八年了。”

嘉丁纳太太望着那张画像说:“我常常听人家说,你的主人堂堂一表人材,他这张脸蛋的确漂亮。──可是,丽萃,你倒说说看,画得象不象。”

雷诺奶奶听到伊丽莎白跟她主人相熟,便好象益发敬重她。

“这位小姐原来跟达西先生相熟?”

伊丽莎白脸红了,只得说:“不太熟。”

“你觉得他是位很漂亮的少爷吗,小姐?”

“是的,很漂亮。”

“我敢说,我没见过这样漂亮的人;楼上画室里还有一张他的画像,比这张大,画得也比这张好。老主人生前最喜爱这间屋子,这些画像的摆法,也还是照从前的老样子。他很喜欢这些小型画像。”

伊丽莎白这才明白为什么韦翰先生的像也放在一起。

雷诺奶奶接着又指给他们看达西小姐的一张画像,那还是她八岁的时候画的。

“达西小姐也跟她哥哥一样漂亮吗?”嘉丁纳先生问道。

“噢,那还用说──从来没有过这样漂亮的小姐,又那么多才多艺!她成天弹琴唱歌。隔壁的房间里就是刚刚替她买来的一架钢琴,那是我主人给她的礼物,她明天会跟他一块儿回来。”

那位管家奶奶看见嘉丁纳先生为人那么随和,便跟他有问有答。雷诺奶奶非常乐意谈到她主人兄妹俩,这或者是由于为他们感到骄傲,或者是由于和他们交情深厚。

“你主人每年在彭伯里待的日子多吗?”

“并没有我所盼望的那么多,先生,他每年大概可以在这儿待上半年;达西小姐总是在这儿歇夏。”

伊丽莎白心想:“除非到拉姆斯盖特去就不来了。”

“要是你主人结了婚,你见到他的时候就会多些。”

“是的,先生;不过我不知道这件事几时才能如愿。我也不知道哪家小姐配得上他。”

嘉丁纳夫妇都笑了。伊丽莎白不由得说,“你会这样想,真使他太有面子了。”

管家奶奶说:“我说的全是真话,认识他的人都是这样说,”伊丽莎白觉得这话实在讲得有些过分。只听得那管家奶奶又说道:“我一辈子没听过他一句重话,从他四岁起,我就跟他在一起了。”伊丽莎白听得更是惊奇。

这句褒奖的话说得最出人意料,也叫她最难想象。她早就断定达西是个脾气不好的人,今日乍听此话,不禁引起了她深切的注意。她很想再多听一些。幸喜她舅舅又开口说道:

“当得起这样恭维的人,实在没有几个。你真是运气好,碰上了这样一个好主人。”

“你真说得是,先生,我自己也知道运气好。我就是走遍天下,再也不会碰到一个更好的主人。我常说,小时候脾气好,长大了脾气也会好;他从小就是个脾气最乖、肚量最大的孩子。”

伊丽莎白禁不住瞪起眼来看她。她心里想:“达西当真是这样一个人吗?”

“他父亲是个了不起的人,”嘉丁纳太太说。

“太太,你说得是,他的确是个了不起的人;他独生子完全象他一样──也象他那样体贴穷苦人。”

伊丽莎白一直听下去,先是奇怪,继而怀疑,最后又极想再多听一些,可是雷诺奶奶再也想不出别的话来引起她的兴趣。她谈到画像,谈到房间大小,谈到家具的价格,可是她都不爱听。嘉丁纳先生觉得,这个管家奶奶所以要过甚其辞地夸奖她自己的主人,无非是出于家人的偏见,这倒也使他听得很有趣,于是马上又谈到这个话题上来了。她一面起劲地谈到他的许多优点,一面领着他们走上大楼梯。

“他是个开明的庄主,又是个最好的主人;”她说,“他不象目前一般撒野的青年,一心只为自己打算。没有一个佃户或佣人不称赞他。有些人说他傲慢;可是我从来没看到过他有哪一点傲慢的地方。据我猜想,他只是不象一般青年人那样爱说话罢了。”

“他被你说得多么可爱!”伊丽莎白想道。

她舅母一边走,一边轻轻地说:“只听到说他的好话,可是他对待我们那位可怜的朋友却是那种样子,好象与事实不大符合。”

“我们可能是受到蒙蔽了。”

“这不大可能;我们的根据太可靠了。”

他们走到楼上那个宽敞的穿堂,就给领进一间漂亮的起坐间,这起坐间新近才布置起来,比楼下的许多房间还要精致和清新,据说那是刚刚收拾起来专供达西小姐享用的,因为去年她在彭伯里看中了这间屋子。

“他千真万确是一个好哥哥,”伊丽莎白一面说,一面走到一个窗户跟前。

雷诺奶奶估计达西小姐一走进这间屋子,将会怎样高兴。她说:“他一向就是这样,凡是能使他妹妹高兴的事情,他马上办到。他从来没有一桩事不依她。”

剩下来只有画室和两三间主要的寝室要指给他们看了。

画室里陈列着许多优美的油画,可惜伊丽莎白对艺术方面完全是外行,但觉这些画好象在楼下都已经看到过,于是她宁可掉过头去看看达西小姐所画的几张粉笔画,因为这些画的题材一般都比较耐人寻味,而且比较容易看得懂。

画室里都是家族的画像,陌生人看了不会感到兴趣。伊丽莎白走来走去,专门去找那个面熟的人的画像;她终于看到了有张画像非常象达西先生,只见他脸上的笑容正象他从前看起来的时候那种笑容。她在这幅画像跟前站了几分钟,欣赏得出了神,临出画室之前,又走回去看了一下。雷诺奶奶告诉他们说,这张画像还是他父亲在世的时候画的。

伊丽莎白不禁对画里那个人立刻起了一阵亲切之感,即使从前她跟他见面最多的时候,她对他也从来没有过这种感觉。我们不应当小看了雷诺奶奶对她主人的这种称赞。什么样的称赞会比一个聪明的下人的称赞更来得宝贵呢?她认为他无论是作为一个兄长,一个庄主,一个家主,都一手操纵着多少人的幸福;他能够给人家多少快乐,又能够给人家多少痛苦;他可以行多少善,又可以作多少恶。那个管家奶奶所提出的每一件事情,都足心说明他品格的优良。她站在他的画像面前只觉得他一双眼睛在盯着她看,她不由得想起了他对她的钟情,于是一阵从来没有过的感激之情油然而生,她一记起他钟情的殷切,便不再去计较他求爱的唐突了。

凡是可以公开参观的地方,他们都走遍了,然后走下楼来,告别了管家奶奶,管家奶奶便吩咐一个园丁在大厅门口迎接他们。

他们穿过草地,走向河边,伊丽莎白这时候又掉过头来看了一直,舅父母也都停住了脚步,哪知道她舅舅正想估量一下这房子的建筑年代,忽然看到屋主人从一条通往马厩的大路上走了过来。

他们只相隔二十码路光景,他这样突然出现,叫人家简直来不及躲避。顷刻之间,四只眼睛碰在一起,两个人脸上都涨得血红。只见主人吃惊非凡,竟楞在那儿一动不动,但是他立刻定了一定心,走到他们面前来,跟伊丽莎白说话,语气之间即使不能算是十分镇静,至少十分有礼貌。

伊丽莎白早就不由自主地走开了,可是见他既然已经走上前来,她便不得不停住脚步,又窘又羞地接受他的问候。再说舅父母,他们即使一见了他还认不出是他,或是明明看出他和刚才那幅画像有相似的地方,却还看不出他就是达西先生,至少看看那个园丁眼见主人归来而惊奇万状的神气,也应该立刻明白了。舅父母看到他在跟他们的外甥女儿谈话,便稍稍站得远一点。他客客气气地问候她家里人的平安,她却诧异慌张得不敢抬起眼睛来朝他脸上看一眼,简直不知道自己回答了他几句什么话。他的态度跟他们俩上一次分手的时候完全两样,这使她感到惊奇,因此他每说一句话都使她越发觉得窘;她脑子里左思右想,觉得闯到这儿来被人家发现,真是有失体统,这短短的几分钟竟成了她生平最难挨的一段光阴。他也不见得比她从容,说话的声调也不象往常那么镇定。他问她是几时从浪搏恩出发,在德比郡待了多久,诸如此类的话问了又问,而且问得很是慌张,这足以说明他是怎样的心神错乱。

最后他好象已经无话可说,默默无言地站了几分钟,突然又定了一下心,告辞而去。

舅父母这才走到她跟前,说他的仪表叫他们很是仰慕,伊丽莎白满怀心事,一个字也没听进去,只是默默无言地跟着他们走。她真是说不出的羞愧和懊恼。她这次上这儿来,真是天下最不幸、最失算的事。他会觉得多么奇怪!以他这样傲慢的一个人,又会怎样瞧不起这件事!她这次好象是重新自己送上门来。天哪,她为什么要来?或者说,他怎么偏偏就出人意料地早一天赶回家来?他们只要早走十分钟,就会走得远远的叫他看不见了;他显然是刚巧来到,刚巧跳下马背或是走出马车。想起了方才见面时那种别扭的情形,她脸上不禁红了又红。他的态度完全和从前两样了──这是怎么回事呢?他居然还会走上前来跟她说话,光是这一点,就叫人够惊奇的了;何况他出言吐语,以及问候她家里人的平安,又是那么彬彬有礼!这次邂逅而遇,他的态度竟这般谦恭,谈吐竟这般柔和,她真是从来也没有见过。上次他在罗新斯花园里交给她那封信的时候,他那种措词跟今天成了怎样的对比!她不知道如何想法才好,也不知道怎样去解释这种情景。

他们现在已经走到河边一条美丽的小径上,地面逐渐低下去,眼前的风光便越发显得壮丽,树林的景色也越发显得幽雅,他们慢慢地向前走,舅父母沿途一再招呼伊丽莎白欣赏如此这般的景色,伊丽莎白虽然也随口答应,把眼睛朝着他们指定的方向张望一下,可是她好久都辨别不出一景一物,简直无心去看。她一心只想着彭伯里大厦的一个角落里,不管是哪一个角落,只要是达西先生现在待在那儿的地方。她真起知道他这时候在想些什么,他心目中怎样看待她,他是否会冒天下之大不韪,依旧对她有好感。他也许只是自以为心头一无牵挂,所以对她特别客气,可是听他说话的声调,自有一种说不出的意味,又不象是一无牵挂的样子。她不知道他见了她是痛苦多于快乐,还是快乐多于痛苦,可是看他那副样子,决不象是心神镇定。

后来舅父母怪她怎么心不在焉,这才提醒了她,觉得应该装得象个样子。

他们走进树林,踏上山坡,跟这一湾溪流暂时告别。从树林的空隙间望出去,可以看到山谷中各处的景色。对面一座座小山,有些小山上都长满了整片的树林,蜿蜒曲折的溪流又不时映入眼帘。嘉丁纳先生想在整个园林里兜个圈子,可是又怕走不动。园丁带着得意的笑容告诉他们说,兜一圈有十英里路呢。这事情只得作罢,他们便沿着平常的途径东兜西转,过了好一会儿工夫,才在悬崖上的小林子里下了坡,又来到河边,这是河道最狭的一部分。他们从一座简陋的小桥上过了河,只见这座小桥和周围的景色很是调和。这地方比他们所到过的地方要朴素些。山谷到了这儿也变成了一条小夹道,只能容纳这一湾溪流和一条小径,小径上灌木夹道,参差不齐。伊丽莎白满想循着曲径去探幽寻胜;可是一过了桥,眼见得离开住宅已经那么远,不长于走路的嘉丁纳太太已经走不动了,一心只想快一些上马车。外甥女只得依从她,大家便在河对岸抄着近路向住宅那边走。他们走得很慢,因为嘉丁纳先生很喜欢钓鱼,平常却很少能够过瘾,这会儿看见河面上常常有鳟鱼出现,便又跟园丁谈鱼谈上了劲,因此时常站着不动。他们就这样慢慢溜达,不料又吃了一惊,尤其是伊丽莎白,她几乎诧异得跟刚才完全没有两样。原来他们又看见达西先生向他们这边走来,而且快要来到跟前了。这一带的小路不象对岸那样隐蔽,因此他们隔得很远便可以看见他。不过伊丽莎白不管怎么诧异,至少比刚刚那次见面有准备得多,因此她便下定决心;如果他当真要来跟他们碰头,她便索性放得镇定些跟他攀谈一番。她开头倒以为他也许会转到别的一条小道上去。她所以会有这种想法,只因为道儿拐弯的时候,他的身影被遮住了,他们看不见他。可是刚一拐弯,他马上便出现在他们面前。她偷偷一看,只见他正象刚才一样,没有一点儿失礼的地方,于是她也仿效着他那彬彬有礼的样子,开始赞赏这地方的美丽风光,可是她刚刚开口说了几声“动人”、“妩媚”,心里又起了一个不愉快的念头。她想,她这样赞美彭伯里,不是会叫人家曲解吗?想到这里,她不禁又红了脸,一声不响。

嘉丁纳太太站在稍微后面一点;正当伊丽莎白默不作声的时候,达西却要求她赏个脸,把她这两位亲友给他介绍一下。他这样的礼貌周到,真是完全出乎她的意料;想当初他向她求婚的时候,他竟那样傲慢,看不起她的某些亲友,而他现在所要求介绍的却正是这些亲友,相形之下,她简直忍不住要笑出来。她想:“要是他知道了这两位是什么样的人,他不知会怎样吃惊呢!他现在大概把他们错看作上流人了。”

不过她还是立刻替他介绍了;她一面跟他说明这两位是她的至亲,一面偷偷地瞟了他一眼,看他是不是受得了。她想他也许会撒腿就跑,避开这些丢脸的朋友。他弄明白了他们的亲戚关系以后,显然很吃惊。不过他总算没给吓坏,非但不走开,后面陪了他们一块儿走回去,又跟嘉丁纳先生攀谈起来。伊丽莎白自然又是高兴,又是得意。她可以让他知道,她也有几个不丢脸的亲戚,这真叫她快慰。她十分留心地听着他跟嘉丁纳先生谈话,幸喜他舅父的举止谈吐,处处都足以叫人看出他颇有见识,趣味高尚,风度优雅。他们不久就谈到钓鱼,她听见达西先生非常客气地跟他说,他既然住在邻近,只要不走,随时都可以来钓鱼,同时又答应借钓具给他,又指给他看,这条河里通常哪些地方鱼最多。嘉丁纳太太跟伊丽莎白挽着手走,对她做了个眼色,表示十分惊奇。伊丽莎白没有说什么,可是心里却得意极了,因为这番殷勤当然都是为了讨好她一个人。不过她还是极端诧异;她一遍遍地问自己:“他的为人怎么变得这么快?这是由于什么原因?他不见得是为了我,看在我的面上,才把态度放得这样温和吧?不见得因为我在汉斯福骂了他一顿,就会使他这样面目一新吧?我看他不见得还会爱我。”

他们就这样两个女的在前,两个男的在后,走了好一会儿。后来为了要仔细欣赏一些稀奇的水草,便各各分开,走到河边,等到恢复原来位置的时候,前后次序就改变了。原来嘉丁纳太太因为一上午走累了,觉得伊丽莎白的臂膀支持不住她的重量,还是挽着自己丈夫走舒服些。于是达西先生便代替了她的位置,和她外甥女儿并排走。两人先是沉默了一阵,后来还是小姐先开口说话。她想跟他说明一下,这一次他们是事先打听他不在家然后再到这儿来游览的,因为她一开始就谈起他这次回来非常出人意料。她接下去说:“因为你的管家奶奶告诉我们,你一定要到明天才回来;我们离开巴克威尔以前,就打听到你不会一下子回到乡下来。”他承认这一切都是事实,又说,因为要找帐房有事,所以比那批同来的人早来了几个钟头。接着又说:“他们明天一大早就会和我见面,他们中间也有你认识的人,彬格莱先生和他的姐妹们都来了。”

伊丽莎白只稍微点了一下头。她立刻回想到他们俩上一次提到彬格莱时的情形;从他的脸色看来,他心里这时候也在想着上一回的情形。

歇了片刻,他又接下去说:“这些人里面,有个人特别想要认识你,那就是舍妹。我想趁你在蓝白屯的时候,介绍她跟你认识认识,不知道你是否肯赏脸,是否认为我太冒昧?”

这个要求真使她受宠若惊;她不知道应该答应才好。她立刻感觉到,达西小姐所以要认识她,无非是出于他哥哥的怂恿;只要想到这一点,就足够叫她满意了。她看到他虽然对她不满,可是并没有因此就真的对她怀着恶感,心里觉得很快慰。

他们俩默不作声地往前走,各人在想各人的心思。伊丽莎白感到不安;这件事太不近情理了;可是她觉得又得意,又高兴。他想要把妹妹介绍和她认识,这真是她了不起的面子。他们立刻就走到嘉丁纳夫妇前头去了;当他们走到马车跟前的时候,嘉丁纳夫妇还离开他们好一段路呢。

他请她到屋子里去坐坐,她说并不累,两个人便一块儿站在草地上。在这种时候,双方应当有多少话可以谈,不作声可真不象样。她想要说话,可是什么话都想不起来。最后她想起了自己正在旅行,两个人便大谈其马特洛克和鸽谷的景物。然而时间过得真慢,她舅母也走得真慢,这场知心的密谈还没结束,她却早已心也慌了,话也完了。嘉丁纳夫妇赶上来的时候,达西先生再三请大家一块儿进屋子里去休息一下,可是客人们谢绝了,大家极有礼貌地告辞分手。达西先生扶着两位女客上了车。直到马车开驶,伊丽莎白还目送他慢慢儿走进屋去。

舅父母现在开始评长论短了;夫妇俩都说他的人品比他们所料想的不知要好多少。舅父说:“他的举止十分优雅,礼貌也极其周到,而且丝毫不搭架子。”

舅母说:“他的确有点儿高高在上的样子,不过只是风度上稍微有这么一点儿罢了,并不叫人讨厌。现在我真觉得那位管家奶奶的话说得一点不错:虽然有些人说他傲慢,我可完全看不出来。”

“他竟那样款待我们,真是万万料想不到。这不仅是客气而是真正的殷勤;其实他用不到这样殷勤,他跟伊丽莎白的交情是很浮浅的。”

舅母说:“丽萃,他当然比不上韦翰那么漂亮,或者可以说,他不象韦翰那样谈笑风生,因为他的容貌十分端庄。可是你怎么会跟我们说他十分讨厌呢?”

伊丽莎白竭力为自己辨解,她说她那次在肯特郡见他时,就比以前对他有好感,又说,她从来没有看见过他象今天上午那么和蔼可亲。

舅父说:“不过,他那么殷勤客气,也许靠不大住,这些贵人大都如此;他请我常常去钓鱼,我也不能信他的话,也许有一天他会改变了主意,不许我进他的庄园。”

伊丽莎白觉得他们完全误解了他的性格,可是并没说出口来。

嘉丁纳太太接着说:“从我们看到他的一些情形来说,我真想象不出,他竟会那样狠心地对待可怜的韦翰。这人看上去心地不坏。他说起话来,嘴上的表情倒很讨人喜欢。至于他脸上的表情,的确有些尊严,不过人家也不会因此就说他心肠不好。只是带我们去参观的那个管家奶奶,倒真把他的性格说得天花乱坠。有几次我几乎忍不住要笑出声来。不过,我看他一定是位很慷慨的主人;在一个佣人的眼睛里看来,一切的德性就在于这一点上面。”

伊丽莎白听到这里,觉得应该替达西说几句公道话,辨明他并没有亏待韦翰;她便小心翼翼地把事情的原委说给舅父母听。她说,据达西在肯特郡的有些亲友,他们曾告诉她,他的行为和人家所传说的情形大有出入,他的为人决不象哈福德郡的人们所想象的那么荒谬,韦翰的为人也决不象哈福德郡的人们所想象的那么厚道。为了证实这一点,她又把他们两人之间银钱往来上的事情,一五一十地讲了出来,虽然没有指明这话是谁讲出来的,可是她断定这些话很可靠。

这番话使嘉丁纳太太听得既感惊奇,又极担心,只是大家现在已经走到从前她喜爱的那个地方,于是她一切的心思都云散烟消,完全沉醉在甜蜜的回忆里面。她把这周围一切有趣的处所一一指给她丈夫看,根本无心想到别的事上面去。虽然一上午的步行已经使她感到疲倦,可是一吃过饭,她又动身去探访故友旧交。这一晚过得真有意思,正所谓:连年怨阔别,一朝喜重逢。

至于伊丽莎白,白天里所发生的种种事情对她实在太有趣了,她实在没有心思去结交任何新朋友;她只是一心一意地在想,达西先生今天为什么那样礼貌周全,尤其使她诧异的是,他为什么要把他妹妹介绍给她。


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