• 女性短篇小说《ARoseforEmily》翻译赏析

  • 发布时间:2017-12-16 20:40 浏览:加载中

  •   I

      When Miss Emily Grierson died, our whole town went to her funeral: the men through a sort of respectful affection for a fallen monument, the women mostly out of curiosity to see the inside of her house, which no one save an old man-servant-a combined gardener and cook--had seen in at least ten years.

      It was a big, squarish71 frame house that had once been white, decorated with cupolas and spires and scrolled balconies72 in the heavily lightsome style of the seventies, set on what had once been our most select street. But garages and cotton gins had encroached and obliterated even the august names of that neighborhood; only Miss Emily's house was left, lifting its stubborn and coquettish decay above the cotton wagons and the gasoline pumps-an eyesore among eyesores. And now Miss Emily had gone to join the representatives of those august names where they lay in the cedar-bemused cemetery among the ranked and anonymous graves of Union and Confederate soldiers who fell at the battle of Jefferson.

      Alive, Miss Emily had been a tradition, a duty, and a care; a sort of hereditary obligation upon the town, dating from that day in 1894 when Colonel Sartoris, the mayor--he who fathered the edict that no Negro woman should appear on the streets without an apron-remitted her taxes, the dispensation dating from the death of her father on into perpetuity. Not that Miss Emily would have accepted charity. Colonel Sartoris invented an involved tale to the effect that Miss Emily's father had loaned money to the town, which the town, as a matter of business, preferred this way of repaying. Only a man of Colonel Sartoris' generation and thought could have invented it, and only a woman could have believed it.

      When the next generation, with its more modern ideas, became mayors and aldermen, this arrangement created some little dissatisfaction. On the first of the year they mailed her a tax notice. February came, and there was no reply. They wrote her a formal letter, asking her to call at the sheriff's office at her convenience. A week later the mayor wrote her himself, offering to call or to send his car for her, and received in reply a note on paper of an archaic shape, in a thin, flowing calligraphy in faded ink, to the effect that she no longer went out at all. The tax notice was also enclosed, without comment.

      They called a special meeting of the Board of Aldermen. A deputation waited upon her, knocked at the door through which no visitor had passed since she ceased giving china-painting lessons eight or ten years earlier. They were admitted by the old Negro into a dim hall from which a stairway mounted into still more shadow. It smelled of dust and disuse--a close, dank73 smell. The Negro led them into the parlor. It was furnished in heavy, leather-covered furniture. When the Negro opened the blinds of one window, they could see that the leather was cracked; and when they sat down, a faint dust rose sluggishly about their thighs, spinning with slow motes in the single sun-ray. On a tarnished gilt easel before the fireplace stood a crayon portrait of Miss Emily's father.

      They rose when she entered--a small, fat woman in black, with a thin gold chain descending to her waist and vanishing into her belt, leaning on an ebony cane with a tarnished gold head. Her skeleton was small and spare; perhaps that was why what would have been merely plumpness in another was obesity in her. She looked bloated, like a body long submerged in motionless water, and of that pallid hue. Her eyes, lost in the fatty ridges of her face, looked like two small pieces of coal pressed into a lump of dough as they moved from one face to another while the visitors stated their errand.

      She did not ask them to sit. She just stood in the door and listened quietly until the spokesman came to a stumbling halt. Then they could hear the invisible watch ticking at the end of the gold chain.

      Her voice was dry and cold. "I have no taxes in Jefferson. Colonel Sartoris explained it to me. Perhaps one of you can gain access to the city records and satisfy yourselves."

      "But we have. We are the city authorities, Miss Emily. Didn't you get a notice from the sheriff, signed by him?"

      "I received a paper, yes," Miss Emily said. "Perhaps he considers himself the sheriff . . . I have no taxes in Jefferson."

      "But there is nothing on the books to show that, you see We must go by the--"

      "See Colonel Sartoris. I have no taxes in Jefferson."

      "But, Miss Emily--"

      "See Colonel Sartoris." (Colonel Sartoris had been dead almost ten years.) "I have no taxes in Jefferson. Tobe!" The Negro appeared. "Show these gentlemen out."

      II

      So She vanquished them, horse and foot, just as she had vanquished their fathers thirty years before about the smell.

      That was two years after her father's death and a short time after her sweetheart--the one we believed would marry her --had deserted her. After her father's death she went out very little; after her sweetheart went away, people hardly saw her at all. A few of the ladies had the temerity to call, but were not received, and the only sign of life about the place was the Negro man--a young man then--going in and out with a market basket.

      "Just as if a man--any man--could keep a kitchen properly, "the ladies said; so they were not surprised when the smell developed. It was another link between the gross, teeming world and the high and mighty Griersons.

      A neighbor, a woman, complained to the mayor, Judge Stevens, eighty years old.

      "But what will you have me do about it, madam?" he said.

      "Why, send her word to stop it," the woman said. "Isn't there a law? "

      "I'm sure that won't be necessary," Judge Stevens said. "It's probably just a snake or a rat that nigger of hers killed in the yard. I'll speak to him about it."

      The next day he received two more complaints, one from a man who came in diffident deprecation. "We really must do something about it, Judge. I'd be the last one in the world to bother Miss Emily, but we've got to do something." That night the Board of Aldermen met--three graybeards and one younger man, a member of the rising generation.

      "It's simple enough," he said. "Send her word to have her place cleaned up. Give her a certain time to do it in, and if she don't. .."

      "Dammit, sir," Judge Stevens said, "will you accuse a lady to her face of smelling bad?"

      So the next night, after midnight, four men crossed Miss Emily's lawn and slunk about the house like burglars, sniffing along the base of the brickwork and at the cellar openings while one of them performed a regular sowing motion with his hand out of a sack slung from his shoulder. They broke open the cellar door and sprinkled lime there, and in all the outbuildings. As they recrossed the lawn, a window that had been dark was lighted and Miss Emily sat in it, the light behind her, and her upright torso motionless as that of an idol. They crept quietly across the lawn and into the shadow of the locusts that lined the street. After a week or two the smell went away.

      That was when people had begun to feel really sorry for her. People in our town, remembering how old lady Wyatt, her great-aunt, had gone completely crazy at last, believed that the Griersons held themselves a little too high for what they really were. None of the young men were quite good enough for Miss Emily and such. We had long thought of them as a tableau74, Miss Emily a slender figure in white in the background, her father a spraddled silhouette in the foreground, his back to her and clutching a horsewhip, the two of them framed by the back-flung front door. So when she got to be thirty and was still single, we were not pleased exactly, but vindicated; even with insanity in the family she wouldn't have turned down all of her chances if they had really materialized.

      When her father died, it got about that the house was all that was left to her; and in a way, people were glad. At last they could pity Miss Emily. Being left alone, and a pauper, she had become humanized. Now she too would know the old thrill and the old despair of a penny more or less.

      The day after his death all the ladies prepared to call at the house and offer condolence and aid, as is our custom Miss Emily met them at the door, dressed as usual and with no trace of grief on her face. She told them that her father was not dead. She did that for three days, with the ministers calling on her, and the doctors, trying to persuade her to let them dispose of the body. Just as they were about to resort to law and force, she broke down, and they buried her father quickly.

      We did not say she was crazy then. We believed she had to do that. We remembered all the young men her father had driven away, and we knew that with nothing left, she would have to cling to that which had robbed her, as people will.

      III

      She was sick for a long time. When we saw her again, her hair was cut short, making her look like a girl, with a vague resemblance to those angels in colored church windows--sort of tragic and serene.

      The town had just let the contracts for paving the sidewalks, and in the summer after her father's death they began the work. The construction company came with riggers and mules and machinery, and a foreman named Homer Barron, a Yankee75--a big, dark, ready man, with a big voice and eyes lighter than his face. The little boys would follow in groups to hear him cuss the riggers, and the riggers singing in time to the rise and fall of picks. Pretty soon he knew everybody in town. Whenever you heard a lot of laughing anywhere about the square, Homer Barron would be in the center of the group. Presently we began to see him and Miss Emily on Sunday afternoons driving in the yellow-wheeled buggy and the matched team of bays from the livery stable.

      At first we were glad that Miss Emily would have an interest, because the ladies all said, "Of course a Grierson would not think seriously of a Northerner, a day laborer." But there were still others, older people, who said that even grief could not cause a real lady to forget noblesse oblige- -

      without calling it noblesse oblige. They just said, "Poor Emily. Her kinsfolk should come to her." She had some kin in Alabama; but years ago her father had fallen out with them over the estate of old lady Wyatt, the crazy woman, and there was no communication between the two families. They had not even been represented at the funeral.

      And as soon as the old people said, "Poor Emily," the whispering began. "Do you suppose it's really so?" they said to one another. "Of course it is. What else could . . ." This behind their hands; rustling of craned silk and satin behind jalousies closed upon the sun of Sunday afternoon as the thin, swift clop-clop-clop of the matched team passed: "Poor Emily."

      She carried her head high enough--even when we believed that she was fallen. It was as if she demanded more than ever the recognition of her dignity as the last Grierson; as if it had wanted that touch of earthiness to reaffirm her imperviousness. Like when she bought the rat poison, the arsenic. That was over a year after they had begun to say "Poor Emily," and while the two female cousins were visiting her.

      "I want some poison," she said to the druggist. She was over thirty then, still a slight woman, though thinner than usual, with cold, haughty black eyes in a face the flesh of which was strained across the temples and about the eyesockets as you imagine a lighthouse-keeper's face ought to look. "I want some poison," she said.

      "Yes, Miss Emily. What kind? For rats and such? I'd recom--"

      "I want the best you have. I don't care what kind."

      The druggist named several. "They'll kill anything up to an elephant. But what you want is--"

      "Arsenic," Miss Emily said. "Is that a good one?"

      "Is . . . arsenic? Yes, ma'am. But what you want--"

      "I want arsenic."

      The druggist looked down at her. She looked back at him, erect, her face like a strained flag. "Why, of course," the druggist said. "If that's what you want. But the law requires you to tell what you are going to use it for."

      Miss Emily just stared at him, her head tilted back in order to look him eye for eye, until he looked away and went and got the arsenic and wrapped it up. The Negro delivery boy brought her the package; the druggist didn't come back. When she opened the package at home there was written on the box, under the skull76 and bones: "For rats."

      IV

      So the next day we all said, "She will kill herself"; and we said it would be the best thing. When she had first begun to be seen with Homer Barron, we had said, "She will marry him." Then we said, "She will persuade him yet," because Homer himself had remarked--he liked men, and it was known that he drank with the younger men in the Elks' Club--that he was not a marrying man. Later we said, "Poor Emily" behind the jalousies as they passed on Sunday afternoon in the glittering buggy, Miss Emily with her head high and Homer Barron with his hat cocked and a cigar in his teeth, reins and whip in a yellow glove.

      Then some of the ladies began to say that it was a disgrace to the town and a bad example to the young people. The men did not want to interfere, but at last the ladies forced the Baptist minister--Miss Emily's people were Episcopal-- to call upon her. He would never divulge what happened during that interview, but he refused to go back again. The next Sunday they again drove about the streets, and the following day the minister's wife wrote to Miss Emily's relations in Alabama.

      So she had blood-kin under her roof again and we sat back to watch developments. At first nothing happened. Then we were sure that they were to be married. We learned that Miss Emily had been to the jeweler's and ordered a man's toilet set in silver, with the letters H. B. on each piece. Two days later we learned that she had bought a complete outfit of men's clothing, including a nightshirt, and we said, "They are married." We were really glad. We were glad because the two female cousins were even more Grierson than Miss Emily had ever been.

      So we were not surprised when Homer Barron--the streets had been finished some time since--was gone. We were a little disappointed that there was not a public blowing-off, but we believed that he had gone on to prepare for Miss Emily's coming, or to give her a chance to get rid of the cousins. (By that time it was a cabal, and we were all Miss Emily's allies to help circumvent the cousins.) Sure enough, after another week they departed. And, as we had expected all along, within three days Homer Barron was back in town. A neighbor saw the Negro man admit him at the kitchen door at dusk one evening.

      And that was the last we saw of Homer Barron. And of Miss Emily for some time. The Negro man went in and out with the market basket, but the front door remained closed. Now and then we would see her at a window for a moment, as the men did that night when they sprinkled the lime, but for almost six months she did not appear on the streets. Then we knew that this was to be expected too; as if that quality of her father which had thwarted her woman's life so many times had been too virulent and too furious to die.

      When we next saw Miss Emily, she had grown fat and her hair was turning gray. During the next few years it grew grayer and grayer until it attained an even pepper-and-salt iron-gray, when it ceased turning. Up to the day of her death at seventy-four it was still that vigorous iron-gray, like the hair of an active man.

      From that time on her front door remained closed, save for a period of six or seven years, when she was about forty, during which she gave lessons in china-painting. She fitted up a studio in one of the downstairs rooms, where the daughters and granddaughters of Colonel Sartoris' contemporaries were sent to her with the same regularity and in the same spirit that they were sent to church on Sundays with a twenty-five-cent piece for the collection plate. Meanwhile her taxes had been remitted.

      Then the newer generation became the backbone and the spirit of the town, and the painting pupils grew up and fell away and did not send their children to her with boxes of color and tedious brushes and pictures cut from the ladies' magazines. The front door closed upon the last one and remained closed for good. When the town got free postal delivery, Miss Emily alone refused to let them fasten the metal numbers above her door and attach a mailbox to it. She would not listen to them.

      Daily, monthly, yearly we watched the Negro grow grayer and more stooped, going in and out with the market basket. Each December we sent her a tax notice, which would be returned by the post office a week later, unclaimed. Now and then we would see her in one of the downstairs windows--she had evidently shut up the top floor of the house--like the carven torso of an idol in a niche, looking or not looking at us, we could never tell which. Thus she passed from generation to generation--dear, inescapable, impervious, tranquil, and perverse.

      And so she died. Fell ill in the house filled with dust and shadows, with only a doddering Negro man to wait on her. We did not even know she was sick; we had long since given up trying to get any information from the Negro

      He talked to no one, probably not even to her, for his voice had grown harsh and rusty, as if from disuse.

      She died in one of the downstairs rooms, in a heavy walnut bed with a curtain, her gray head propped on a pillow yellow and moldy with age and lack of sunlight.

      V

      The negro met the first of the ladies at the front door and let them in, with their hushed, sibilant voices and their quick, curious glances, and then he disappeared. He walked right through the house and out the back and was not seen again.

      The two female cousins came at once. They held the funeral on the second day, with the town coming to look at Miss Emily beneath a mass of bought flowers, with the crayon face of her father musing profoundly above the bier and the ladies sibilant and macabre77; and the very old men --some in their brushed Confederate uniforms--on the porch and the lawn, talking of Miss Emily as if she had been a contemporary of theirs, believing that they had danced with her and courted her perhaps, confusing time with its mathematical progression, as the old do, to whom all the past is not a diminishing road but, instead, a huge meadow which no winter ever quite touches, divided from them now by the narrow bottle-neck of the most recent decade of years.

      Already we knew that there was one room in that region above stairs which no one had seen in forty years, and which would have to be forced. They waited until Miss Emily was decently in the ground before they opened it.

      The violence of breaking down the door seemed to fill this room with pervading dust. A thin, acrid pall as of the tomb seemed to lie everywhere upon this room decked and furnished as for a bridal: upon the valance curtains of faded rose color, upon the rose-shaded lights, upon the dressing table, upon the delicate array of crystal and the man's toilet things backed with tarnished silver, silver so tarnished that the monogram was obscured. Among them lay a collar and tie, as if they had just been removed, which, lifted, left upon the surface a pale crescent in the dust. Upon a chair hung the suit, carefully folded; beneath it the two mute shoes and the discarded socks.

      The man himself lay in the bed.

      For a long while we just stood there, looking down at the profound and fleshless grin. The body had apparently once lain in the attitude of an embrace, but now the long sleep that outlasts love, that conquers even the grimace of love, had cuckolded him. What was left of him, rotted beneath what was left of the nightshirt, had become inextricable from the bed in which he lay; and upon him and upon the pillow beside him lay that even coating of the patient and biding dust.

      Then we noticed that in the second pillow was the indentation of a head. One of us lifted something from it, and leaning forward, that faint and invisible dust dry and acrid in the nostrils, we saw a long strand of iron-gray hair.

      献给艾米丽的一朵玫瑰花

      一

      爱米丽小姐过世后,全镇的人都为她去送丧葬:男子们是出于对这名小姐的敬慕之情,因为一个纪念碑倒下了;妇女们呢,则大多数出于好奇心,想看看她屋子的内部摆设。除了艾米丽小姐的一个花匠兼厨师的老仆人之外,至少已有十年光景谁也没进去看看这幢房子了。

      这是一幢漆成白色的四方形大木屋,地点坐落在当年一条最考究的街道上,大木屋还装点着有十九世纪七十年代风味的圆形屋顶、尖塔和涡形花纹的阳台,带有浓厚的轻盈味道。可是汽车间和轧棉机之类的东西侵犯了这一带庄严的名字,把它们涂抹得一干二净。只有爱米丽小姐的屋子岿然独存,四周簇拥着棉花车和汽油泵。房子虽已破旧,却还是执拗不驯,装模作样,真是丑中之丑。现在爱米丽小姐已经加入了那些名字庄严的代表人物的行列,他们沉睡在雪松环绕的墓园之中,那里尽是一排排在南北战争时期杰斐逊战役中阵亡的南方和北方的无名军人墓。

      爱米丽小姐在世时始终是一个传统的化身和是义务的象征,也是人们始终关注的对象。自从一八九四年某日镇长沙多里斯上校――他颁布了一道黑人妇女不系围裙不得上街的命令――豁免了她一切应纳的税款起,期限从她父亲去世之日开始,一直到她去世为止,这是全镇沿袭下来对她的一种特权。这也并非说爱米丽甘愿接受施舍,原来是沙多里斯上校编造了一大套无中生有的话,说是爱米丽的父亲曾经贷款给镇政府,因此,镇政府作为一种交易,宁愿以这种方式偿还报答。这一套话,只有沙多里斯一代的人以及像沙多里斯一样头脑的人才能编得出来,也只有妇道人家才会相信。

      等到思想更为开明的第二代人当了镇长和参议员时,这项安排引起了一些小小的不满。那年元旦,他们便给她寄去了一张纳税通知单。二月份到了,还是杳无音信。他们发去一封公函,要她便中到司法长官办公处去一趟。一周之后,镇长亲自写信给爱米丽,表示愿意登门访问,或派车迎接她,而所得回信却是一张便条,写在古色古香的信笺上,书法流利,字迹细小,但墨水已不鲜艳,信的大意是说她已根本不外出。纳税通知附还,没有表示意见。

      参议员们开了个特别会议,派出一个代表团对她进行了访问。他们敲敲门,自从八年或者十年前她停止开授瓷器彩绘课以来,谁也没有从这大门出入过。那个上了年纪的黑人男仆把他们接待进阴暗的门厅,从那里再由楼梯上去,光线就更暗了。一股尘封的气味扑鼻而来,空气阴湿而又不透气,这屋子长久没有人住了。黑人领他们到客厅里,里面摆设的笨重家具全都包着皮套子。黑人打开了一扇百叶窗,这时,便更可看出皮套子已经坼裂;等他们坐了下来,大腿两边就有一阵灰尘冉冉上升,尘粒在那一缕阳光中缓缓旋转。壁炉前已经失去金色光泽的画架上面放着爱米丽父亲的炭笔画像。

      她一进屋,他们全都站了起来。一个小模小样,腰圆体胖的女人,穿了一身黑服,一条细细的金表链拖到腰部,落到腰带里去了,一根乌木拐杖支撑着她的身体,拐杖头的镶金已经失去光泽。她的身架矮小,也许正因为这个缘故,在别的女人身上显得不过是丰满,而她却给人以肥大的感觉。她看上去像长久泡在死水中的一具死尸,肿胀发白。当客人说明来意时,她那双凹陷在一脸隆起的肥肉之中,活像揉在一团生面中的两个小煤球似的眼睛不住地移动着,时而瞧瞧这张面孔,时而打量那张面孔。

      她没有请他们坐下来。她只是站在门口,静静地听着,直到发言的代表结结巴巴地说完,他们这时才听到那块隐在金链子那一端的挂表嘀嗒作响。

      她的声调冷酷无情。“我在杰斐逊无税可纳。沙多里斯上校早就向我交代过了。或许你们有谁可以去查一查镇政府档案,就可以把事情弄清楚。”

      “我们已经查过档案,爱米丽小姐,我们就是政府当局。难道你没有收到过司法长官亲手签署的通知吗?”

      “个错,我收到过一份通知,”爱米丽小姐说道,“也许他自封为司法长官……可是我在杰斐逊无税可交。”

      “可是纳税册上并没有如此说明,你明白吧。我们应根据……”

      “你们去找沙多里斯上校。我在杰斐逊无税可交。”

      “可是,爱米丽小姐――”

      “你们去找沙多里斯上校,(沙多里斯上校死了将近十年了)我在杰斐逊无税可纳。托比!”黑人应声而来。“把这些先生们请出去。”二

      她就这样把他们“连人带马”地打败了,正如三十年前为了那股气味的事战胜了他们的父辈一样。那是她父亲死后两年,也就是在她的心上人――我们都相信一定会和她结婚的那个人――抛弃她不久的时候。父亲死后,她很少外出;心上人离去之后,人们简直就看不到她了。有少数几位妇女竟冒冒失失地去访问过她,但都吃了闭门羹。她居处周围唯一的生命迹象就是那个黑人男子拎着一个篮子出出进进,当年他还是个青年。

      “好象只要是一个男子,随便什么样的男子,都可以把厨房收拾得井井有条似的。”妇女们都这样说。因此,那种气味越来越厉害时,她们也不感到惊异,那是芸芸众生的世界与高贵有势的格里尔生家之间的另一联系。

      邻家一位妇女向年已八十的法官斯蒂芬斯镇长抱怨。

      “可是太太,你叫我对这件事又有什么办法呢?”他说。

      “哼,通知她把气味弄掉,”那位妇女说。“法律不是有明文规定吗?”

      “我认为这倒不必要,”法官斯蒂芬斯说。“可能是她用的那个黑鬼在院子里打死了一条蛇或一只老鼠。我去跟他说说这件事。”

      第二天,他又接到两起申诉,一起来自一个男的,用温和的语气提出意见。“法官,我们对这件事实在不能不过问了。我是最不愿意打扰爱米丽小姐的人,可是我们总得想个办法。”那天晚上全体参议员――三位老人和一位年纪较轻的新一代成员在一起开了个会。

      “这件事很简单,”年轻人说。“通知她把屋子打扫干净,限期搞好,不然的话……”

      “先生,这怎么行?”法官斯蒂芬斯说,“你能当着一位贵妇人的面说她那里有难闻的气味吗?”

      于是,第二天午夜之后,有四个人穿过了爱米丽小姐家的草坪,像夜盗一样绕着屋子潜行,沿着墙角一带以及在地窖通风处拚命闻嗅,而其中一个人则用手从挎在肩上的袋子中掏出什么东西,不断做着播种的动作。他们打开了地窖门,在那里和所有的外屋里都撒上了石灰。等到他们回头又穿过草坪时,原来暗黑的一扇窗户亮起了灯:爱米丽小姐坐在那里,灯在她身后,她那挺直的身躯一动不动像是一尊偶像一样。他们蹑手蹑脚地走过草坪,进入街道两旁洋槐树树荫之中。一两个星期之后,气味就闻不到了。

      而这时人们才开始真正为她感到难过。镇上的人想起爱米丽小姐的姑奶奶韦亚特老太太终于变成了十足疯子的事,都相信格里尔生一家人自视过高,不了解自己所处的地位。爱米丽小姐和像她一类的女子对什么年轻男子都看不上眼。长久以来,我们把这家人一直看做一幅画中的人物:身段苗条、穿着白衣的爱米丽小姐立在背后,她父亲叉开双脚的侧影在前面,背对爱米丽,手执一根马鞭,一扇向后开的前门恰好嵌住了他们俩的身影。因此当她年近三十,尚未婚配时,我们实在没有喜幸的心理,只是觉得先前的看法得到了证实。即令她家有着疯癫的血液吧,如果真有一切机会摆在她面前,她也不至于断然放过。

      父亲死后,传说留给她的全部财产就是那座房子;人们倒也有点感到高兴。到头来,他们可以对爱米丽表示怜悯之情了。单身独处,贫苦无告,她变得懂人情了。如今她也体会到多一便士就激动喜悦、少一便士便痛苦失望的那种人皆有之的心情了。

      她父亲死后的第二天,所有的妇女们都准备到她家拜望,表示哀悼和愿意接济的心意,这是我们的习俗。爱米丽小姐在家门口接待她们,衣着和平日一样,脸上没有一丝哀愁。她告诉她们,她的父亲并未死。一连三天她都是这样,不论是教会牧师访问她也好,还是医生想劝她让他们把尸体处理掉也好。正当他们要诉诸法律和武力时,她垮下来了,于是他们很快地埋葬了她的父亲。

      当时我们还没有说她发疯。我们相信她这样做是控制不了自己。我们还记得她父亲赶走了所有的青年男子,我们也知道她现在已经一无所有,只好象人们常常所做的一样,死死拖住抢走了她一切的那个人。

      三

      她病了好长一个时期。再见到她时,她的头发已经剪短,看上去像个姑娘,和教堂里彩色玻璃窗上的天使像不无相似之处――有几分悲怆肃穆。

      行政当局已订好合同,要铺设人行道,就在她父亲去世的那年夏天开始动工,建筑公司带着一批黑人、骡子和机器来了,工头是个北方佬,名叫荷默? 伯隆,个子高大,皮肤黝黑,精明强干,声音宏亮,双眼比脸色浅淡。一群群孩子跟在他身后听他用不堪入耳的话责骂黑人,而黑人则随着铁镐的上下起落有节奏地哼着劳动号子。没有多少时候,全镇的人他都认识了。随便什么时候人们要是在广场上的什么地方听见呵呵大笑的声音,荷默?伯隆肯定是在人群的中心。过了不久,逢到礼拜天的下午我们就看到他和爱米丽小姐一齐驾着轻便马车出游了。那辆黄轮车配上从马房中挑出的栗色辕马,十分相称。

      起初我们都高兴地看到爱米丽小姐多少有了一点寄托,因为妇女们都说:“格里尔生家的人绝对不会真的看中一个北方佬,一个拿日工资的人。”不过也有别人,一些年纪大的人说就是悲伤也不会叫一个真正高贵的妇女忘记“贵人举止”,尽管口头上不把它叫作“贵人举止”。他们只是说:“可怜的爱米丽,她的亲属应该来到她的身边。”她有亲属在亚拉巴马;但多年以前,她的父亲为了疯婆子韦亚特老太太的产权问题跟他们闹翻了,以后两家就没有来往。他们连丧礼也没派人参加。

      老人们一说到“可伶的爱米丽”,就交头接耳开了。他们彼此说:“你当真认为是那么回事吗?”“当然是??。还能是别的什么事?……”而这句话他们是用手捂住嘴轻轻地说的;轻快的马蹄得得驶去的时候,关上了遮挡星期日午后骄阳的百叶窗,还可听出绸缎的?O?@声:“可怜的爱米丽。”

      她把头抬得高高――甚至当我们深信她已经堕落了的时候也是如此,仿佛她比历来都更要求人们承认她作为格里尔生家族末代人物的尊严;仿佛她的尊严就需要同世俗的接触来重新肯定她那不受任何影响的性格。比如说,她那次买老鼠药、砒霜的情况。那是在人们已开始说“可怜的爱米丽”之后一年多,她的两个堂姐妹也正在那时来看望她。

      “我要买点毒药。”她跟药剂师说。她当时已三十出头,依然是个削肩细腰的女人,只是比往常更加清瘦了,一双黑眼冷酷高傲,脸上的肉在两边的太阳穴和眼窝处绷得很紧,那副面部表情是你想象中的灯塔守望人所应有的。“我要买点毒药。”她说道。

      “知道了,爱米丽小姐。要买哪一种?是毒老鼠之类的吗?那么我介――”

      “我要你们店里最有效的毒药,种类我不管。”

      药剂师一口说出好几种。“它们什么都毒得死,哪怕是大象。可足你要的是――”

      “砒霜,”爱米丽小姐说。“砒霜灵不灵?”

      “是……砒霜?知道了,小姐。可是你要的是……”

      “我要的是砒霜。”

      药和师朝下望了她一眼。她回看他一眼,身子挺直,面孔像一面拉紧了的旗子。“噢噢,当然有,”药剂师说。“如果你要的是这种毒药。不过,法律规定你得说明作什么用途。”

      爱米丽小姐只是瞪着他,头向后仰了仰,以便双眼好正视他的双眼,一直看到他把目光移开了,走进去拿砒霜包好。黑人送货员把那包药送出来给她;药剂师却没有再露面。她回家打开药包,盒子上骷髅骨标记下注明:“毒鼠用药”。四

      于是,第二天我们大家都说:“她要自杀了”;我们也都说这是再好没有的事。我们第一次看到她和荷默?伯隆在一块儿时,我们都说:“她要嫁给他了。”后来又说:“她还得说服他呢。”因为前默自己说他喜欢和男人来往,大家知道他和年轻人在糜鹿俱乐部一道喝酒,他本人说过,他是无意于成家的人。以后每逢礼拜天下午他们乘着漂亮的轻便马车驰过:爱米丽小姐昂着头,荷默歪戴着帽子,嘴里叼着雪茄烟,戴着黄手套的手握着马缰和马鞭。我们在百叶窗背后都不禁要说一声:“可怜的爱米刚。”

      后来有些妇女开始说,这是全镇的羞辱,也是青年的坏榜样。男子汉不想干涉,但妇女们终于迫使浸礼会牧师――爱米丽小姐一家人都是属于圣公会的――去拜访她。访问经过他从未透露,但他再也不愿去第二趟了。下个礼拜天他们又驾着马车出现在街上,于是第二天牧师夫人就写信告知爱米丽住在亚拉巴马的亲厦。

      原来她家里还有近亲,于是我们坐待事态的发展。起先没有动静,随后我们得到确讯,他们即将结婚。我们还听说爱米丽小姐去过首饰店,订购了一套银质男人盥洗用具,每件上面刻着“荷?伯”。两天之后人家又告诉我们她买了全套男人服装,包括睡衣在内,因此我们说:“他们已经结婚了。”我们着实高兴。我们高兴的是两位堂姐妹比起爱米丽小姐来,更有格里尔生家族的风度。

      因此当荷默?伯隆离开本城――街道铺路工程已经竣工好一阵子了――时,我们一点也不感到惊异。我们倒因为缺少一番送行告别的热闹,不无失望之感。不过我们都相信他此去是为了迎接爱米丽小姐作一番准备,或者是让她有个机会打发走两个堂姐妹。(这时已经形成了一个秘密小集团,我们都站爱米丽小姐一边,帮她踢开这一对堂姐妹。)一点也不差,一星期后她们就走了。而且,正如我们一直所期待的那样,荷默?伯隆又回到镇上来了。一位邻居亲眼看见那个黑人在一天黄昏时分打开厨房门让他进去了。

      这就是我们最后一次看到荷默?伯隆。至于爱米丽小姐呢,我们则有一段时间没有见到过她。黑人拿着购货篮进进出出,可是前门却总是关着。偶尔可以看到她的身影在窗口晃过,就像人们在撒石灰那天夜晚曾经见到过的那样,但却有整整六个月的时间,她没有出现在大街上。我们明白这也并非出乎意料;“她父亲的性格三番五次地使她那作为女性的一生平添波折,而这种性格仿佛大恶毒,太狂暴,还不肯消失似的。

      等到我们再见到爱米丽小姐时,她已经发胖了,头发也已灰白了。以后数年中,头发越变越灰,变得像胡椒盐似的铁灰色,颜色就不再变了。直到她七十四岁去世之日为止,还是保持着那旺盛的铁灰色,像是一个活跃的男子的头发。

      打那时起,她的前门就一直关闭着,除了她四十左右的那段约有六七年的时间之外。在那段时期,她开授瓷器彩绘课。在楼下的一间房里,她临时布置了一个画室,沙多里斯上校的同时代人全都把女儿、孙女儿送到她那里学画,那样的按时按刻,那样的认真精神,简直同礼拜天把她们送到教堂去,还给她们二角伍分钱的硬币准备放在捐献盆子里的情况一模一样。这时,她的捐税已经被豁免了。

      后来,新的一代成了全镇的骨干和精神,学画的学生们也长大成人,渐次离开了,她们没有让她们自己的女孩子带着颜色盒、令人生厌的画笔和从妇女杂志上剪下来的画片到爱米丽小姐那里去学画。最后一个学生离开后,前门关上了,而且永远关上了。全镇实行免费邮递制度之后,只有爱米丽小姐一人拒绝在她门口钉上金属门牌号,附设一个邮件箱。她怎样也不理睬他们。

      日复一日,月复一月,年复一年,我们眼看着那黑人的头发变白了,背也驼了,还照旧提着购货篮进进出出。每年十二月我们都寄给她一张纳税通知单,但一星期后又由邮局退还了,无人收信。不时我们在楼底下的一个窗口――她显然是把楼上封闭起来了――见到她的身影,像神龛中的一个偶像的雕塑躯干,我们说不上她是不是在看着我们。她就这样度过了一代又一代――高贵,宁静,无法逃避,无法接近,怪僻乖张。

      她就这样与世长辞了。在一栋尘埃遍地、鬼影憧憧的屋子里得了病,侍候她的只有一个老态龙钟的黑人。我们甚至连她病了也不知道;也早已不想从黑人那里去打听什么消息。他跟谁也不说话,恐怕对她也是如此,他的嗓子似乎由于长久不用变得嘶哑了。

      她死在楼下一间屋子里,笨重的胡桃木床上还挂着床帷,她那长满铁灰头发的头枕着的枕头由于用了多年而又不见阳光,已经黄得发霉了。

      五

      黑人在前门口迎接第一批妇女,把她们请进来,她们话音低沉,发出咝咝声响,以好奇的目光迅速扫视着一切。黑人随即不见了,他穿过屋子,走出后门,从此就不见踪影了。

      两位堂姐妹也随即赶到,他们第二天就举行了丧礼,全镇的人都跑来看看覆盖着鲜花的爱米丽小姐的尸体。停尸架上方悬挂着她父亲的炭笔画像,一脸深刻沉思的表情,妇女们唧唧喳喳地谈论着死亡,而老年男子呢――有些人还穿上了刷得很干净的南方同盟军制服――则在走廊上,草坪上纷纷谈论着爱米丽小姐的一生,仿佛她是他们的同时代人,而且还相信和她跳过舞,甚至向她求过爱,他们把按数学级数向前推进的时间给搅乱了。这是老年人常有的情形。在他们看来,过去的岁月不是一条越来越窄的路,而是一片广袤的连冬天也对它无所影响的大草地,只是近十年来才像窄小的瓶口一样,把他们同过去隔断了。

      我们已经知道,楼上那块地方有一个房间,四十年来从没有人见到过,要进去得把门撬开。他们等到爱米丽小姐安葬之后,才设法去开门。

      门猛烈地打开,震得屋里灰尘弥漫。这间布置得像新房的屋子,仿佛到处都笼罩着墓室一般的淡淡的阴惨惨的氛围:败了色的玫瑰色窗帘,玫瑰色的灯罩,梳妆台,一排精细的水晶制品和白银作底的男人盥洗用具,但白银已毫无光泽,连刻制的姓名字母图案都已无法辨认了。杂物中有一条硬领和领带,仿佛刚从身上取下来似的,把它们拿起来时,在台面上堆积的尘埃中留下淡淡的月牙痕。椅子上放着一套衣服,折叠得好好的;椅子底下有两只寂寞无声的鞋和一双扔了不要的袜子。

      那男人躺在床上。

      我们在那里立了好久,俯视着那没有肉的脸上令人莫测的龇牙咧嘴的样子。那尸体躺在那里,显出一度是拥抱的姿势,但那比爱情更能持久、那战胜了爱情的熬煎的永恒的长眠已经使他驯服了。他所遗留下来的肉体已在破烂的睡衣下腐烂,跟他躺着的木床粘在一起,难分难解了。在他身上和他身旁的枕上,均匀地覆盖着一层长年累月积下来的灰尘。

      后来我们才注意到旁边那只枕头上有人头压过的痕迹。我们当中有一个人从那上面拿起了什么东西,大家凑近一看――这时一股淡淡的干燥发臭的气味钻进了鼻孔――原来是一绺长长的铁灰色头发。作品点评

      《纪念爱米丽的一朵玫瑰花》是威廉姆?福克纳的第一部短篇小说。因此该作品历来备受读者关注。小说中的爱米丽。少女时代的她拥有娇美的身材和淑女的品质,但其暴君式的父亲为维护门第的尊严和高贵,把求婚者拒之于门外,结果,本属于她的幸福婚姻被毁于一旦。父亲的去世使爱米丽长期被压制的对自由和婚姻的渴望释放出来,她爱上了来自北方的、幽默风趣的铺路工人荷默,但是荷默的拒绝和社会的压力使其最终丧失了女性的善良和对生活的最后一线希望,她走上了极端怪异的道路。执著的爱情和变态的手段结合在一起,在封闭孤寂的世界中,爱米丽度过了一生。爱米丽拥有没落贵族不愿割舍的高傲与自尊。对征缴税收的传单不予理睬,对上门的官员冷眼相对,对邻居的抱怨不闻不问,在象征资本主义“文明”的现代设施和建筑日益增多的南方,她依旧住在幽闭的深宅大院内。竟然不知给予她免税特权的沙多里斯上校已死了将近十年。当全镇实行免费邮递制度后,惟独她一人拒绝使用邮箱,拒绝现代文明。她在世时始终是一个传统的化身,义务的象征。去世时,宛如一座纪念碑倒下了,全镇的人都要去送葬。在一定程度上,她是南方古老传统、价值观、生活方式,甚至是没落的贵族阶级的美德和骄傲和尊严的化身,因此当地人对她怀有一种敬慕之情。在他们看来,她映在窗户上的身影象一尊雕像或神龛中的一个偶像。

      在《献给爱米丽的玫瑰》中,福克纳借助爱米丽?格里尔森悲惨的一生,表达了对南方文明的深切思念和缅怀的同时,也展示了他对腐败南方的旧制度旧观念的深刻揭露和批判,以唤起人们的正义感,摈弃那些糟粕的东西,吸取南方价值观念中的积极向上,符合人性的东西,重新构建南方一个崭新的美好的精神家园。

      凯瑟琳?曼斯菲尔德(Katherine Mansfield)

      凯瑟琳?曼斯菲尔德1888年10月14日生于新西兰威灵顿,本名卡瑟琳?包姗普,家族与俄罗斯全无瓜葛。她的父亲是一位成功的银行家,在威灵顿社交界享有威望。凯瑟琳的童年在维多利亚式的文化习俗和新西兰美丽的自然环境中度过。15岁时,她离家来到英国伦敦,进入皇后学院就学,研习法语、德语和音乐课程,并开始写一些短篇的散文和诗歌。3年后她不情愿地回到了新西兰。1908年7月,她说服父亲同意她前往英国生活,从此离开故乡,一去不返。她用凯瑟琳?曼斯菲尔德这个名字作为笔名,以一个作家的身份定居伦敦,开始写作生涯。因婚姻不幸,她四处游历。在她辞世多年之后,她对短篇小说这一文体的影响才渐次被人们所认识和承认。她的一生恰似她在1921年写下的那篇著名的《园会》,而她就像小说中的劳拉。我们看到一个单纯而执拗的富家女子从园会的喧闹中挣脱出来,勇敢地接近外面的世界,接近死亡的面孔。那是一副宁静的,与世上的一切都不相侵扰的面孔,这死亡的面孔看来甚至比她身边的活人更真实、更具活力、更漂亮。

      凯瑟琳?曼斯菲尔德被公认为杰出的现代短篇小说大师, 主要作品有《求职女》、《一杯茶》、《罗莎蓓儿惊梦记》、《莫斯小姐的一天》、《女主人的财身女仆》、《巴克妈妈的一生》等其风格鲜明、匠心独具的构建方式对后来的短篇小说创作手法的影响已是不刊之论。作为一位女性作家, 只身游历他乡、鲜明的个性、复杂的人生历程成就了她对女性题材与主题的成功探索, 她以女性视角刻画了众多为生存而奋斗、挣扎的年轻女性人物形象以及在舒适的中产家庭及其婚姻关系中挑战和反叛男权社会的女性, 她特别擅长通过描写小事来展现女性真实的内心世界, 表现女性的幻灭感、孤独感这样的女性主义主题。
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