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傲慢与偏见 (PRIDE AND PREJUDICE)第三十八章

双击单词可弹出解释框  时间:2010-07-16 21:14  作者:

ON Saturday morning Elizabeth and Mr. Collins met for breakfast a few minutes before the others appeared; and he took the opportunity of paying the parting civilities which he deemed indispensably necessary.
"I know not, Miss Elizabeth," said he, "whether Mrs. Collins has yet expressed her sense of your kindness in coming to us, but I am very certain you will not leave the house without receiving her thanks for it. The favour of your company has been much felt, I assure you. We know how little there is to tempt any one to our humble abode. Our plain manner of living, our small rooms, and few domestics, and the little we see of the world, must make Hunsford extremely dull to a young lady like yourself; but I hope you will believe us grateful for the condescension, and that we have done every thing in our power to prevent your spending your time unpleasantly."

Elizabeth was eager with her thanks and assurances of happiness. She had spent six weeks with great enjoyment; and the pleasure of being with Charlotte, and the kind attentions she had received, must make her feel the obliged. Mr. Collins was gratified; and with a more smiling solemnity replied,

"It gives me the greatest pleasure to hear that you have passed your time not disagreeably. We have certainly done our best; and most fortunately having it in our power to introduce you to very superior society, and, from our connection with Rosings, the frequent means of varying the humble home scene, I think we may flatter ourselves that your Hunsford visit cannot have been entirely irksome. Our situation with regard to Lady Catherine's family is indeed the sort of extraordinary advantage and blessing which few can boast. You see on what a footing we are. You see how continually we are engaged there. In truth I must acknowledge that, with all the disadvantages of this humble parsonage, I should not think any one abiding in it an object of compassion while they are sharers of our intimacy at Rosings."

Words were insufficient for the elevation of his feelings; and he was obliged to walk about the room, while Elizabeth tried to unite civility and truth in a few short sentences.

"You may, in fact, carry a very favourable report of us into Hertfordshire, my dear cousin. I flatter myself, at least, that you will be able to do so. Lady Catherine's great attentions to Mrs. Collins you have been a daily witness of; and altogether I trust it does not appear that your friend has drawn an unfortunate --; but on this point it will be as well to be silent. Only let me assure you, my dear Miss Elizabeth, that I can from my heart most cordially wish you equal felicity in marriage. My dear Charlotte and I have but one mind and one way of thinking. There is in every thing a most remarkable resemblance of character and ideas between us. We seem to have been designed for each other."

Elizabeth could safely say that it was a great happiness where that was the case, and with equal sincerity could add that she firmly believed and rejoiced in his domestic comforts. She was not sorry, however, to have the recital of them interrupted by the entrance of the lady from whom they sprung. Poor Charlotte! -- it was melancholy to leave her to such society! -- But she had chosen it with her eyes open; and though evidently regretting that her visitors were to go, she did not seem to ask for compassion. Her home and her housekeeping, her parish and her poultry, and all their dependent concerns, had not yet lost their charms.

At length the chaise arrived, the trunks were fastened on, the parcels placed within, and it was pronounced to be ready. After an affectionate parting between the friends, Elizabeth was attended to the carriage by Mr. Collins, and as they walked down the garden, he was commissioning her with his best respects to all her family, not forgetting his thanks for the kindness he had received at Longbourn in the winter, and his compliments to Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner, though unknown. He then handed her in, Maria followed, and the door was on the point of being closed, when he suddenly reminded them, with some consternation, that they had hitherto forgotten to leave any message for the ladies at Rosings.

"But," he added, "you will of course wish to have your humble respects delivered to them, with your grateful thanks for their kindness to you while you have been here."

Elizabeth made no objection; -- the door was then allowed to be shut, and the carriage drove off.

"Good gracious!" cried Maria, after a few minutes silence, "it seems but a day or two since we first came! -- and yet how many things have happened!"

"A great many indeed," said her companion with a sigh.

"We have dined nine times at Rosings, besides drinking tea there twice! -- How much I shall have to tell!"

Elizabeth privately added, "And how much I shall have to conceal."

Their journey was performed without much conversation, or any alarm; and within four hours of their leaving Hunsford, they reached Mr. Gardiner's house, where they were to remain a few days.

Jane looked well, and Elizabeth had little opportunity of studying her spirits, amidst the various engagements which the kindness of her aunt had reserved for them. But Jane was to go home with her, and at Longbourn there would be leisure enough for observation.

It was not without an effort, meanwhile, that she could wait even for Longbourn, before she told her sister of Mr. Darcy's proposals. To know that she had the power of revealing what would so exceedingly astonish Jane, and must, at the same time, so highly gratify whatever of her own vanity she had not yet been able to reason away, was such a temptation to openness as nothing could have conquered but the state of indecision in which she remained as to the extent of what she should communicate; and her fear, if she once entered on the subject, of being hurried into repeating something of Bingley which might only grieve her sister farther.

星期六吃过早饭时,伊丽莎白和柯林斯先生在饭厅里相遇,原来他们比别人早来了几分钟。柯林斯先生连忙利用这个机会向她郑重话别,他认为这是决不可少的礼貌。

他说:“伊丽莎白小姐,这次蒙你光临敝舍,我不知道内人有没有向你表示感激;不过我相信她不会不向你表示一番谢意就让你走的。老实告诉你,你这次来,我们非常领情。我们自知舍下寒伧,无人乐意光临。我们生活清苦,居处局促,侍仆寥寥无几,再加我们见识浅薄,象你这样一位年轻小姐,一定会觉得汉斯福这地方极其枯燥乏味,不过我们对于你这次赏脸,实在感激万分,并且竭尽绵薄,使你不至于过得兴味索然,希望你能鉴谅。”

伊丽莎白连声道谢,说是这次作客,非常快活,这六个星期来真是过得高兴极了,跟夏绿蒂待在一起真有乐趣,加上主人家对待她又那么殷勤恳切,实在叫她感激。柯林斯先生一听此话,大为满意,立刻显出一副笑容可掬的样子,慎重其事地回答道:

“听到你并没有过得不称心,我真得意到极点。我们总算尽了心意,而且感到最幸运的是,能够介绍你跟上流人来往。寒舍虽然毫不足道,但幸亏高攀了罗新斯府上,使你住在我们这种苦地方,还可以经常跟他们来往来往,可以免得单调,这一点倒使我可以聊以自慰,觉得你这次到汉斯福来不能算完全失望。咖苔琳夫人府上对我们真是特别优待,特别爱护,这种机会是别人求之不得的。你也可以看出我们是处于何等的地位。你看我们简直无时无刻不在他们那边作客。老实说,我这所牧师住宅虽然异常简陋,诸多不便,可是,谁要是住到里边来,就可以和我们共享罗新斯的盛情厚谊,这可有能说是没有福份吧。”

他满腔的高兴实在非言语所能形容;伊丽莎白想出了几句简简单单、真心真意的客气话来奉承他,他听了以后,简直快活得在屋子里打转。

“亲爱的表妹,你实在大可以到哈福德郡去给我们传播传播好消息。我相信你一定办得到。咖苔琳夫人对内人真是殷勤备到,你是每天都亲眼看到的。总而言之,我相信你的朋友并没有失算──不过这一点不说也好。请你听我说,亲爱的伊丽莎白小姐,我从心底里诚恳地祝你将来的婚姻也能同样的幸福。我亲爱的夏绿蒂和我真是同心合意,无论遇到哪一件事莫不是意气相投,心心相印。我们这一对夫妇真是天造地设。”

伊丽莎白本来可以放心大胆地说,他们夫妇这样相处,的确是很大的幸福,而且她还可以用同样诚恳的语气接下去说,她完全认为他们家里过得很舒适,她亦叨了一份光。不过话才说到一半,被说到的那位太太走了进来,打断了她的话。她倒并不觉得遗憾。夏绿蒂好不可怜!叫她跟这样的男人朝夕相处,实在是一种痛苦。可是这毕竟是她自己睁大了眼睛挑选的。她眼看着客人们就要走了,不免觉得难过,可是她好象并不要求别人怜悯。操作家务,饲养家禽,教区里的形形色色,以及许许多多附带的事,都还没有使她感到完全乏味。

马车终于来了,箱子给系上车顶,包裹放进车厢,一切都端整好了,只准备出发。大家恋恋不舍地告别以后,便由柯林斯先生送伊丽莎白上车。他们从花园那儿走去,他一路托她回去代他向她全家请安,而且没有忘了感谢他去年冬天在浪搏恩受到的款待,还请他代为问候嘉丁纳夫妇,其实他并不认识他们。然后他扶她上车,玛丽亚跟着走上去,正当车门快要关上的时候,他突然慌慌张张地提醒她们说,她们还忘了给罗新斯的太太小姐们留言告别呢。

“不过,”他又说,“你们当然想要向她们传话请安,还要感谢她们这许多日子来的殷勤款待。”

伊丽莎白没有表示反对,车门这才关上,马车就开走了。

沉默了几分钟以后,玛丽亚叫道:“天呀!我们好象到这儿来才不过一两天,可是事情倒发生了不少啊!”

她们一路上没有说什么话,也没有受什么惊,离开汉斯福不到四个钟头,就到了嘉丁纳先生家里。她们要在那儿耽搁几天。

伊丽莎白看到吉英气色很好,只可惜没有机会仔细观察一下她的心情是不是好,因为多蒙她舅母一片好心,早就给她们安排好了各色各样的节目。好在吉英就要跟她一块儿回去,到了浪搏恩,多的是闲暇的时间,那时候再仔细观察观察吧。

不过,她实在等不及到了浪搏恩以后,再把达西先生求婚的事情告诉吉英,她好容易才算耐住了性子。她知道她自己有本领说得吉英大惊失色,而且一说以后,还可以大大地满足她自己那种不能从理智上加以克服的虚荣心。她真恨不得把它说出来,只是拿不定主意应该怎样跟吉英说到适可而止,又怕一谈到这个问题,就免不了多多少少要牵扯到彬格莱身上去,也许会叫她姐姐格外伤心。

 

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