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14 Trouble at Gateshead

 

  hen I was a child at Gateshead,Bessie the nursemaid

  used to say that to dream of children was a sure sign of trouble to come.For a whole week now I had dreamed of a small child every night,and perhaps Bessie was right,as a message came from Gateshead.

  It appeared that my cousin John Reed,who had spent and wasted all his money and some of his mother's,and been in debt or in prison Most of his life,had killed himself a week before And then Mrs Reed,whose health had been badly affected by worrying about her son,had suddenly fallen ill when she heard of his death Although she could hardly speak,she had recently managed to express a wish to see me And so my cousins Eliza and Georgiana had sent their coachman,Robert,to bring me back to Gateshead

  I felt I could not refuse to see my aunt,perhaps for the last time,So I went to ask Mr Rochester's permisson to leave Thornfield for a while I found him talking to Miss Ingram,who looked at me in disgust when I interrupted their conversation.

  'Well,Jane,what is it?'he asked,when we had left the room full of guests and gone into the library.

  'Please,sir,I would like permission to visit my aunt,who is ill,for a week or two.

  'Your aunt!You told me you had no relations!'

  'I have none who,love me,sir.She's Mrs Reed,my uncle's wife.Her son has died recently.I really can't neglect her now that she is dying.

  'What nonsense,Jane,rushing off to visit an old lady who has never loved you!But I see you've decided to go.Where does she live and how long will you stay?'

  'She lives at Gateshead,sir,a hundred miles away.I'll stay as short a time as can.

  'Promise me only to stay a week.

  I can't promise,sir,I might have to stay longer.

  'And you certainly can't travel a hundred miles alone!'

  'They've sent the coachman for me,sir.I'll leave tomorrow.'

  Mr Rochester thought for a while.

  'Well,you'll need some money.I haven't paid you any salary yet.How much have you in the world,Jane?' he asked,smiling.

  I showed him my tiny purse.He took it and laughed as he counted the few coins.Then he took out his wallet.

  'Here is £50,'he said,offering me a note.

  'But.you only owe me £15,sir!'I cried.

  'On second thoughts,give me that back. If you had&50,perhaps you would stay away for three months.Here is £ 10.Is that enough?'

  'Now you owe me&5,sir,'I pointed out.

  'You'll have to come back for it then,'he said,laughing.

  'There's something else,sir.You've told me you'rs going to marry soon. In that case,Adèle should go to boarding school.'

  'To get her out of my lovely bride's way?A very sensible suggestion.But what about you?'

  'I must find another job somewhere.I'll advertise.'

  'Don't you dare!'he growled.'Promise me,Jane,not to look for another job.I'll take care of that.'

  'I'll promise,sir,if you promise that Adèle and I will be out of your house before your bride enters it.'

  'Very well!And now we must say goodbye.'

  'Goodbye,Mr Rochester.'

  I set out early the next morning and travelled all day.As I approached Gateshead Hall,I realized it was nine years since I had left it. In that time I had made some friends, gained much self-confidence,and finally lost my hatred of the Reeds.

  I was delighted to see my old friend Bessie again.She had married Robert the coachman,and was very busy with her three young children.The house itself had not changed at all,hut my cousins certainly had. Eliza was now very tall and thin, with a rather sour face,dressed in very plain clothes,and with a cross hanging round her neck Georgiana,on the other hand,was still pretty hut very fat,and wore extremely fashionable clothes.They did not seem pleased to see me,in fact they more or less ignored me,but I hardly noticed their rudeness.I told the housekeeper that I would be staying for several days,and then went straight to my aunt's room.

  I remembered it well from my childhood.I had often been called there to be punished.Bending over her bed I kissed her.

  'How are you,dear aunt?'I asked.I had sworn never to call her aunt again,but I did not regret breaking that promise to myself.I held her hand.

  'Are you Jane Eyre?'she asked.Her face,although deathly pale,was as stern as ever,and she removed her hand from mine.'That child was more trouble to me than anyone would believe!I was glad to send her to Lowood.And John!Poor John!He needs so much money!Where can I get more money from?What will happen? She seemed very confused and excited,so I left her to sleep.

  Her illness got worse in the next few days.I spent some time every day looking after her,and the rest of the time with my cousins,listening to their plans for the future.Eliza was planning to joln a religious community after her mother's death,but Georgiana was hoping to stay in London with relations,to see the new fashions and go to all the parties.It was quite clear they had no real feeling for their mother,and were almost looking forward to her death.

  One dark,stormy night I visited the dying woman.She lay there asleep in her room,neglected by her daughters and servants.As I looked out of the window into the black emptiness,I wondered about the great mystery of death,and thought of Helen Burns,who was so sure her spirit would go to heaven.Would my aunt's spirit go there too?

  'Who are you?'I heard the sick woman Murmuring.'I wanted to see Jane Eyre.I must tell her something.

  'I am Jane Eyre,aunt,'I told her gently.

  'I know I'm very ill,'she said weakly.'Before I die I must confess what I've done wrong.First,I broke my promise to my husband about you,and second She broke off.'After all,perhaps I don't need to tell her,'she said to herself and then,'No,it's no good,I know I'm dying.I must tell her,and quickly!Jane eyre,take the letter from the top drawer of my desk,and read it.'I did so.It said:

 

  'Why did I never hear of this'?I asked,amazed.

  'I hated you so much that I wrote,back to Him,telling him you had died of typhus fever at Lowood That was my revenge on you,for causing me so much trouble!'she cried angrily.

  'Dear aunt,'I said,'don't think about that any more I was omly a child,it's not surprising I was a nuisance.'

  'You were always so angry and violent,such a wicked child!'

  'Not as wicked as you think.I would have loved you if you'd let me.Forget it all and kiss me now,aunt.'But it was too late for her to break the habit of dislike,and she turned away from me. Poor woman!She died soon afterwards,keeping her hatred of me alive in her heart,and no one at Gateshead cried for her.

 

14 盖茨赫德出了麻烦

 

  小时候我还在盖茨赫德时,女仆贝茜就曾对我说梦到孩子一定是祸事的预兆。整整一个星期以来,我每晚都梦到一个小孩儿。也许贝茜是对的,盖茨赫德让人捎信来了。

  似乎是我的表哥约翰·里德挥霍了他自己的全部钱财以及他母亲的一部分钱,大部分时间都是负债累累或蹲监狱。一星期前他自杀了。里德太太因为替儿子担心,身体受到严重影响,听到他的死讯,突然一病不起。尽管她几乎难以讲话,最近还是设法表示希望见见我。于是我的表姐妹伊丽莎和乔治娜派了车夫罗伯特接我回盖茨赫德。

  我感到自己无法拒绝去看望舅妈,也许这是最后一面了。于是我到罗切斯特先生那儿,请他准许我离开特恩费得一段时间。我见到他正跟英格姆小姐讲话,我打断他们的谈话时,她正厌恶地看着我。

  “噢,简,什么事?”我们离开满是客人的房间而来到书房时,他问道。

  “先生,请您允许我去看望我的舅妈,她已经病了一两个星期了。”

  “你的舅妈!你告诉我你没有亲戚的!”

  “先生,我没有喜欢我的亲戚。她是里德太太,我舅舅的妻子。她儿子最近死了。她快不行了,我真的不能不理她。”

  “简,真是胡说,跑去看一个从未喜欢过你的老太太!不过我看你已决心要走了。她住在哪儿?你去多久?”

  “先生,她住在100英里以外的盖茨赫德。我尽量待的时间短些。”

  “答应我只待一星期。”

  “先生,我不能答应,可能必须逗留得长些。”

  “你不能只身旅行100英里啊!”

  “先生.他们派来了车夫。我明天动身。”

  罗切斯特先生想了想。

  “好吧,你需要些钱,我还没有付给你工资。简,你全部家当有多少?”他笑着问。

  我把小钱包拿给他看。他接过去,一边数里面的几个硬币一边笑,然后他掏出自己的钱夹。

  “这是50英镑。”他说着递给我一张钞票。

  “可你只欠我15英镑啊,先生!”我叫道。 “我再想想,把钱还给我吧。如果你有50镑,可能会在外面待上三个月。这是10镑,够吗?”

  “现在你欠我5镑,先生。”我指出。

  “那么你就得回来讨债了。”他笑着说。

  “先生,还有别的事。你曾告诉我你快要结婚了。如果是这样,阿黛拉应该去上寄宿学校。”

  “让她别在可爱的新娘面前碍手碍脚?很有道理。但是你呢?”

  “我必须在别处找事做,我会登广告。”

  “你敢!”他吼道,“简,答应我,不要找别的工作,由我来处理。”

  “先生,我答应,条件是新娘进门前,阿黛拉和我必须离开你家。”

  “很好!那现在我们得说再见了。”

  “再见,罗切斯特先生。”

  第二天我一早就出发了,奔波了一整天。盖茨赫德府渐渐近了,我意识到从我离开这里,九年已经过去了。这期间,我交了些朋友,增长了不少自信,最后也不再恨里德一家了。

  我很高兴又见到老朋友贝茜。她嫁给了车夫罗伯特,要照顾她的三个小孩,所以很忙。房子本身一点儿没变,但我的表兄妹显然是变了。伊丽莎现在又高又瘦,面带苦相,穿着非常简朴,脖子上挂着个十字架。而乔治娜依然漂亮,但很胖,穿着非常时髦的衣服。她们见到我似乎并不高兴,实际上多少有点儿不理睬我,而我几乎没注意到她们的失礼。我告诉管家我只住几天,然后径直来到舅妈的屋里。

  儿时的生活让我清楚地记得这屋子。我常常被叫进来受罚。我俯下身去吻了她。

  “亲爱的舅妈,你好吗?”我问。我曾发誓不再叫她舅妈,但是打破了誓言我并不后悔。我拉住她的手。

  “你是简·爱吗?”她问。她脸色尽管已是死灰色,却仍像过去一样严厉。她把手抽了回去。“那孩子给我带来的麻烦,比谁想的都要多!我很高兴把她送到洛伍德去了。约翰!可怜的约翰!他需要那么多钱!我到哪儿去多弄钱呢?会出什么事?”她好像又糊涂又激动,于是我起身让她睡了。

  以后几天里,她病情恶化了。我每天都花些时间照顾她,剩下的时间就和表姐妹在一起,听她们讲述未来的计划。伊丽莎打算在母亲去世后参加一个宗教团体,而乔治娜则希望到伦敦和亲戚住在一起,去观赏时装,参加各种晚会。显然她们和母亲没有什么感情,几乎是在盼着她死。

  一个风雨交加的夜晚,我又去看望垂死的女人。她正睡在屋里,女儿和仆人们都不理会她。我望着窗外无尽的黑夜,思量着死亡的神秘。我想到了海伦·伯恩斯,她是那么肯定自己会进天堂。我舅妈的灵魂也会进天堂吗?

  “你是谁?”我听到病人低语道,“我要见简·爱,我必须告诉她一件事。”

  “舅妈,我就是简·爱。”我轻柔地对她说。

  “我知道我病得很重。”她虚弱地说。“我死前必须坦白我做的错事。第一,我违背了为你向我丈夫许下的诺言。第二……”她止住了。“也许我没有必要告诉她。”她自言自语道。然后她又说:“不,这不好,我知道我要死了。我必须告诉她,而且要快!简·爱,从我书桌最上面的抽屉里拿一封信,念念。”我照办了。信上说:

 

  “我怎么从来没听说过?”我吃惊地问。

  “我很恨你,就写信告诉他你在洛伍德得猩红热死了。这就是我对你给我惹这么多麻烦的报复!”她恨恨地说。

  “亲爱的舅妈,”我说,“别再想这些了。我那时还只是个孩子,难免让人烦。”

  “你总是那么生气,那么凶,真是个坏孩子!”

  “没有你想像的那么坏。如果你当时允许的话,我会爱你的。舅妈,忘了这一切吧,请吻我一下。”然而现在让她放弃厌恶的习惯已为时太晚,她扭过头去不理我。可怜的女人!她不久就死了,心中仍留着对我的仇恨。盖茨赫德没有一个人为她落泪。