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9 Mr Rochester's past

 

  Soon I discovered what Mr Rochester meant when he said he had done wrong.One afternoon,while walking in the gardens of Thornfield,he told me the story of his love-affair in Paris with a French dancer,Geline.

  'Yes,Miss Eyre,I was young and foolish then.I was so in love with her that I rented a house and hired servants for her.I gave her a carriage and jewels,in fact I threw away a fortune on her,just like any fool in love.One evening I visited her but found she was out,so I waited on her balcony,smoking a cigar.I heard her carriage arriving.Imagine my horror at seeing her step out followed by a man!You're so young,you've never felt love or jealousy,have you,Miss Eyre?You are floating along a quiet river now,you don't see the water boiling at the foot of the great rocks,but one day you'll come to a point in life's stream where the wild force of the waves may destroy you, where the noisy rushing water may drown you!I am calm enough now,calm enough to like living here at Thornfield.I like it because it's old,and grey,and dark, and yet I hate—'He did not finish what he was saying,staring angrily up at the windows on the top floor of his house.It was a look of disgust,pain and shame.I could not understand what he meant,and wanted to hear more about Celine,so I encouraged him to finish the story.

  'What happened when she entered the house, sir?'

  'Oh,I'd forgotten Céline!By the way,it's strange my telling you all this,but I know my secret's safe with you, and I know,too,that it can't have an evil influence on you-your mind's too strong for that. Yes, I listened to her conversation with her lover,an elegant young fool,and I knew I was no longer in love with her.So I walked into the room,told her our relationship was over,and challenged her lover to fight me.Next day I shot him in the arm during our fight,thought that was the end of the whole thing, and left France.But a few months before,Céline had had a baby girl,Adèle,and she claimed that Adèle was my child. She may be,although I doubt it.So when,a few years later,Céline abandoned Adèle and ran away to Italy with a singer,I went to Paris and brought Adèle back to grow up in England.'

  I felt proud that Mr Rochester had trusted me with the story of his past life.I thought a lot about his character,and although I was aware of his faults,I also saw his goodness and kindness to me.From now on,my happiest moments were spent with him.I could not have imagined a better companion.

  One night I was woken by a slight noise.I felt sure someone was outside my bedroom door. As I hurried to lock it,I called,'Who's there?There was a strange,inhuman sound,then I heard a door shut upstairs on the top floor.'Was that Grace Poole?'I wondered,trembling.My curiosity made me open the door, and I found the corridor full of smoke.I saw it was coming from Mr Rochester's door,which was slightly open.I completely forgot my fears and rushed into his room.He lay fast asleep,surrounded by flames and smoke. Even his sheets were on fire.

  'Wake up!Wake up!'I shouted desperately,throwing water over him to put out the flames.Not until the fire was almost out did he wake up,swearing to find himself so wet.

  'Is there a flood?' he cried.

  'No,sir,I answered,'but there's been a fire.'

  'Jane Eyre,is it you and your magic?'he asked.'Have you put a spell on me again?Did you intend to drown me this time?'

  'Please get up,sir.Someone has plotted to kill you!'And I explained what I had heard and how I had put out the fire.He looked very serious,and thought for a few seconds.

  'Shall I fetch Mrs Fairfax,sir,or the servants?'I asked.

  'No, why bother them?Just stay here for a moment.I'm going up to the top floor.Don't call anyone,I'll be back soon.

  I waited,cold and tired,in his room for what seemed a very long time.Then I saw the light of his candle approaching through the darkness,and he appeared,looking pale and depressed.

  'Did you see anything when you opened your bedroom door?'he asked,glancing sharply at me.

  'No,sir,only a candle on the floor.'

  'But you heard a strange laugh,did you say?'

  'Yes,I've heard it before.Grace Poole laughs like that.”

  'That's it.It must have been Grace Poole.You've guessed it.I shall consider what to do about it.But meanwhile I'm glad you're the only person who knows anything about all this Say nothing to anybody else,and now,go back to your own room.

  'Good night,then,sir,'I said,moving towards the door.

  'What!Are you leaving me already!'he said,seeming surprised,although he had just told me to go,'And so coldly?'

  'You said I should go,sir.'

  'But not without saying goodbye,not without a kind word or two.Why,you've saved my life.I hate being in debt to anyone,but with you it's different,Jane.I'm happy to owe you my life.'His voice was trembling as he took both my hands in his.'I knew,when I first saw you,that you would do me good.I saw it in you eyes when I met you.I was right to…like…your smile and the magic in your face.'There was energy in his voice and a strange light in his eyes.

  'I'm glad I happened to be awake,'I said,'but I must go now.I'm cold.'I knew I could not control my feelings much longer,and I needed time to think But he still held on to my hands.Then I thought of a way of escaping.

  'I think I hear the servants moving,sir,'I said.

  'Well, leave me,'he said, and let me go.

  That night, or what was left of it,I could not sleep.My mind was full of confusing pictures and disturbed emotions.

 

9 罗切斯特的过去

 

  不久,我就发现了罗切斯特说他曾做过错事是什么意思。一天下午在花园里散步时,他向我讲述了在巴黎和一位叫赛林娜的法国舞女的爱情故事。

  “是的,简小姐,我那时年轻、愚蠢。我非常爱她,甚至为她租了房子,雇了仆人。我给她马车和首饰,在她身上挥霍了很多钱,就像任何陷入爱情的傻瓜一样。一天晚上,我去看她,她却不在,于是我就在她阳台上抽着雪茄,等着她。我听见马车来了。能想像得出我看到她走下马车、后面跟着一个男人时所感到的惊愕吗!你太年轻了,还没有感受过爱情或是嫉妒,是不是,爱小姐?现在你正随平静的小河漂流而下,看不到岩石脚下湍急的水流,但是有一天,你会在生活的长河中感到可以毁灭你的巨浪,咆哮的急流可能把你淹没!现在我已平静了,平静得喜欢住在特恩费得。我喜欢它,因为它陈旧、晦涩、黑暗,但是我恨——”他没有说完,只是愤怒地瞪着房子顶层的窗户。那目光中饱含厌恶、痛苦和耻辱。我不知他是什么意思,想多听听赛林娜的事,于是就鼓动他把故事讲完。

  “先生,她进屋后发生了什么事?”

  “噢,我忘了赛林娜!我告诉你这一切,真有些奇怪,不过我知道你会保守我的秘密,我还知道,它们不会对你产生坏影响——你太有头脑了。是的,我听到她和情人的对话,那是个优雅的年轻笨蛋。我知道我已不再爱她,于是便走进屋去,告诉她我们的关系完了,并向她的情人要求决斗。第二天,我在决斗中击伤了他的胳膊。我觉得事情已经了结,便离开了法国。但是在此几个月前,赛林娜生下一个女孩儿阿黛拉,声称是我的孩子。可能是吧,但我怀疑。几年后,赛林娜抛弃了阿黛拉,跟一个歌手跑到意大利去了,我便去巴黎,把阿黛拉带回英国抚养。”

  罗切斯特能把他过去的生活讲给我听,我感到非常骄傲。我常常琢磨他的性格,尽管我意识到他的缺点,但也知道他待我很好很和善。从此,我最快活的时光就是和他在一起。我想像不出还有比他更好的伴侣。

  一天夜里,我被一点响动吵醒。我可以肯定有人在我卧室门外,便赶紧去锁门,喊着:“谁在那儿?”我听到一个不像人发出的奇怪声音,然后是楼上顶层的关门声。“是格丽丝·普尔吗?”我纳闷,身上直发抖。好奇心驱使我打开了门,我看到走廊里全是烟。烟是从罗切斯特先生略开着的房门里冒出来的。我完全忘了害怕,冲进他的房间。他睡得正香,被火焰和浓烟包围着,连床单都着了火。

  “快醒醒!快醒醒!”我一边声嘶力竭地叫着,一边把水泼到他身上灭火。直到火快灭了他才醒来,发现一身湿,嘴里咒骂着。

  “发大水了吗?”他叫道。

  “不,先生。”我说。“不过着火了。”

  “简·爱,是你和你的魔法吗?”他问。“你是不是又对我念了咒语?这次是想淹死我吗?”

  “先生,请起来吧。有人要谋害你!”我讲述了我听到的声音以及我灭火的过程。他看上去表情严肃,沉思了一会儿。

  “我去叫费尔法斯太太或仆人吧?”我问。

  “不,为什么要打扰他们?在这儿等一会儿,我到顶层去一下。别叫任何人,我马上就回来。”

  我又冷又累,似乎在他的房间等了很长时间。然后我看到他举着蜡烛从黑暗中走来,他脸色苍白、神情沮丧。

  “你开卧室门时看到什么了吗?”他问,目光锐利地看着我。

  “没有,先生,只有地上的一根蜡烛。”

  “可是你不是说听到一声怪笑吗?”

  “是的,我以前也听到过。格丽丝·普尔就那么笑。”

  “不错,一定是格丽丝·普尔。你猜对了。我要考虑一下怎么处理。不过我很高兴你是唯一的知情者。一点儿也不要对别人提起,现在回房间吧。”

  “那么晚安,先生。”我说完向门口走去。

  “什么!你这就走了!”他似乎有些吃惊地说,尽管他刚刚让我离开。“就这么冷冰冰地走了?”

  “先生,你说我该走了。”

  “但不是不道别,不说点儿什么呀。怎么,你救了我的命啊!我讨厌欠别人的情,不过对你就难办了,简。我很高兴欠你的救命之恩。”他声音有些颤抖,把我的双手握在他手里。“我第一次见到你,就知道你会给我带来好运,我见到你时在你眼睛里看出来的。我……喜欢……你的微笑和脸上的魔力,看来是对的。”他的声音中充满激情,眼中闪着异样的光。

  “我真高兴我当时正好醒着。”我说。“但我现在必须走了,我冷。”我知道我的感情不能控制太久,我需要时间想一想,但他还是握着我的手。这时我想了个逃脱的办法。

  “我想我听到仆人们在走动了,先生。”我说。

  “好吧,去吧。”他说完就放我走了。

  那天晚上或者说那晚余下的时间里,我无法再入睡。我脑子纷乱一片,心绪不安。