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双语小说连载:纯真年代 The Age of Innocence(11)

来源:可可英语 编辑:beck   VIP免费外教试听课 |  可可官方微信:ikekenet

Archer withdrew reluctantly with the unwelcome documents. Since their last meeting he had half-unconsciously collaborated with events in ridding himself of the burden of Madame Olenska. His hour alone with her by the firelight had drawn them into a momentary intimacy on which the Duke of St. Austrey's intrusion with Mrs. Lemuel Struthers, and the Countess's joyous greeting of them, had rather providentially broken. Two days later Archer had assisted at the comedy of her reinstatement in the van der Luydens' favour, and had said to himself, with a touch of tartness, that a lady who knew how to thank all-powerful elderly gentlemen to such good purpose for a bunch of flowers did not need either the private consolations or the public championship of a young man of his small compass. To look at the matter in this light simplified his own case and surprisingly furbished up all the dim domestic virtues. He could not picture May Welland, in whatever conceivable emergency, hawking about her private difficulties and lavishing her confidences on strange men; and she had never seemed to him finer or fairer than in the week that followed. He had even yielded to her wish for a long engagement, since she had found the one disarming answer to his plea for haste.
阿切尔无可奈何地带着那些不受欢迎的文件退了出来。他们上次见面以来,他一直漫不经心地对待社交活动,以便使自己摆脱奥兰斯卡夫人的负担。他与她在炉火旁单独相处建立的短暂亲密关系,由于圣奥斯特利公爵与莱姆尔·斯特拉瑟斯太太的闯入,以及伯爵夫人对他们愉快的欢迎,已经天助神依般地破灭了。两天之后,在她重获范德卢顿夫妇欢心的喜剧中阿切尔助了一臂之力,他不无尖酸地心想,对于有权势的老绅士用一束鲜花表示的善意,一位夫人是知道如何感激的,她不需要他这样能力有限的年轻人私下的安慰,也不需要他公开的捍卫。这样一想,就把他个人的问题简化了,同时也令人惊奇地修复了他模糊的家庭观念。无论梅遇到什么紧急情况,他都无法想象她会对陌生男人大讲自己的困难,不加考虑地信赖他们。在随后的一个星期中,他觉得她比以往任何时候都更优雅更美丽。他甚至屈从了她延长订婚期的愿望,因为她找到了解除争端的办法,使他放弃了尽快结婚的要求。

"You know, when it comes to the point, your parents have always let you have your way ever since you were a little girl," he argued; and she had answered, with her clearest look: "Yes; and that's what makes it so hard to refuse the very last thing they'll ever ask of me as a little girl."
“你知道,从你还是个小姑娘的时候起,只要你说到点子上,你父母一直都是容许你自行其事的,”他争辩说。她神色十分安详地回答道:“不错;正是由于这个原因,才使得我难以拒绝他们把我看作小姑娘而提的最后一个要求。”

That was the old New York note; that was the kind of answer he would like always to be sure of his wife's making. If one had habitually breathed the New York air there were times when anything less crystalline seemed stifling.
这是老纽约的调子;这是他愿永远确信他的妻子会做的那种回答。假如一个人一直习惯于呼吸纽约的空气,那么,有时候,不够清澈的东西似乎就会让他窒息。

The papers he had retired to read did not tell him much in fact; but they plunged him into an atmosphere in which he choked and spluttered. They consisted mainly of an exchange of letters between Count Olenski's solicitors and a French legal firm to whom the Countess had applied for the settlement of her financial situation. There was also a short letter from the Count to his wife: after reading it, Newland Archer rose, jammed the papers back into their envelope, and reentered Mr. Letterblair's office.
他回来后阅读的那些文件实际上并没有告诉他多少情况,却使他陷入一种窒息和气急败坏的心清。文件主要是奥兰斯卡伯爵夫人的律师与法国一个法律机构的往来信件,伯爵夫人曾请求该机构澄清她的经济状况;另外还有一封伯爵写给妻子的短信。读过那封信后,纽兰·阿切尔站起来,把文件塞进信封,重新走进了莱特布赖的办公室。

"Here are the letters, sir. If you wish, I'll see Madame Olenska," he said in a constrained voice.
“还给你这些信,先生。如果你愿意,我想见见奥兰斯卡夫人,”他声音有些不自然地说。

"Thank you--thank you, Mr. Archer. Come and dine with me tonight if you're free, and we'll go into the matter afterward: in case you wish to call on our client tomorrow."
“谢谢你——谢谢你,阿切尔先生。如果你有空,今晚请过来一起吃晚饭,饭后我们把事情研究一下——假如你想明天拜访我们的委托人的话。”

Newland Archer walked straight home again that afternoon. It was a winter evening of transparent clearness, with an innocent young moon above the house- tops; and he wanted to fill his soul's lungs with the pure radiance, and not exchange a word with any one till he and Mr. Letterblair were closeted together after dinner. It was impossible to decide otherwise than he had done: he must see Madame Olenska himself rather than let her secrets be bared to other eyes. A great wave of compassion had swept away his indifference and impatience: she stood before him as an exposed and pitiful figure, to be saved at all costs from farther wounding herself in her mad plunges against fate.
纽兰·阿切尔这天下午又是直接走回家的。这是个明净清澈的冬季傍晚,一弯皎洁的新月刚升起在房顶上方。他想让灵魂内部注满纯净的光辉,在晚饭后与莱特布赖关进密室之前这段时间,不想跟任何人说一句话。再做其他决定是不可能的,一定得按他的意见办:他必须亲自去见奥兰斯卡夫人,而不能让她的秘密暴露给其他人。一股同情的洪流已经冲走了他的冷漠与厌烦。她像一个无人保护的弱者站在他面前,等待着他不惜一切代价去拯救,以免她在对抗命运的疯狂冒险中受到进一步的伤害。

He remembered what she had told him of Mrs. Welland's request to be spared whatever was "unpleasant" in her history, and winced at the thought that it was perhaps this attitude of mind which kept the New York air so pure. "Are we only Pharisees after all?" he wondered, puzzled by the effort to reconcile his instinctive disgust at human vileness with his equally instinctive pity for human frailty.
他记起她对他讲过,韦兰太太曾要求她免谈她过去任何“不愉快的事”。想到也许正是这种心态才使得纽约的空气如此纯净,他不觉有些畏缩。“难道我们竟是法利赛人不成?”他困惑地想。为了摆平憎恶人类罪恶与同情人类脆弱这两种本能的感情,他大伤脑筋。



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