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CHAPTER IV HE ALSO BEARS HIS CROSS



Jean Valjean had resumed his march and had not again paused.



This march became more and more laborious. The level of these vaults varies; the average height is about five feet, six inches, and has been calculated for the stature of a man; Jean Valjean was forced to bend over, in order not to strike Marius against the vault; at every step he had to bend, then to rise, and to feel incessantly of the wall. The moisture of the stones, and the viscous nature of the timber framework furnished but poor supports to which to cling, either for hand or foot. He stumbled along in the hideous dung-heap of the city. The intermittent gleams from the air-holes only appeared at very long intervals, and were so wan that the full sunlight seemed like the light of the moon; all the rest was mist, miasma, opaqueness, blackness. Jean Valjean was both hungry and thirsty; especially thirsty; and this, like the sea, was a place full of water where a man cannot drink. His strength, which was prodigious, as the reader knows, and which had been but little decreased by age, thanks to his chaste and sober life, began to give way, nevertheless. Fatigue began to gain on him; and as his strength decreased, it made the weight of his burden increase. Marius, who was, perhaps, dead, weighed him down as inert bodies weigh. Jean Valjean held him in such a manner that his chest was not oppressed, and so that respiration could proceed as well as possible. Between his legs he felt the rapid gliding of the rats. One of them was frightened to such a degree that he bit him. From time to time, a breath of fresh air reached him through the vent-holes of the mouths of the sewer, and re-animated him.



It might have been three hours past midday when he reached the belt-sewer.



He was, at first, astonished at this sudden widening. He found himself, all at once, in a gallery where his outstretched hands could not reach the two walls, and beneath a vault which his head did not touch. The Grand Sewer is, in fact, eight feet wide and seven feet high.



At the point where the Montmartre sewer joins the Grand Sewer, two other subterranean galleries, that of the Rue de Provence, and that of the Abattoir, form a square. Between these four ways, a less sagacious man would have remained undecided. Jean Valjean selected the broadest,that is to say, the belt-sewer. But here the question again came up--should he descend or ascend? He thought that the situation required haste, and that he must now gain the Seine at any risk. In other terms, he must descend. He turned to the left.



It was well that he did so, for it is an error to suppose that the belt-sewer has two outlets, the one in the direction of Bercy, the other towards Passy, and that it is, as its name indicates, the subterranean girdle of the Paris on the right bank. The Grand Sewer, which is, it must be remembered, nothing else than the old brook of Menilmontant, terminates, if one ascends it, in a blind sack, that is to say, at its ancient point of departure which was its source, at the foot of the knoll of Menilmontant. There is no direct communication with the branch which collects the waters of Paris beginning with the Quartier Popincourt, and which falls into the Seine through the Amelot sewer above the ancient Isle Louviers. This branch, which completes the collecting sewer, is separated from it, under the Rue Menilmontant itself, by a pile which marks the dividing point of the waters, between upstream and downstream. If Jean Valjean had ascended the gallery he would have arrived, after a thousand efforts, and broken down with fatigue, and in an expiring condition, in the gloom, at a wall. He would have been lost.



In case of necessity, by retracing his steps a little way, and entering the passage of the Filles-du-Calvaire, on condition that he did not hesitate at the subterranean crossing of the Carrefour Boucherat, and by taking the corridor Saint-Louis, then the Saint-Gilles gut on the left, then turning to the right and avoiding the Saint-Sebastian gallery, he might have reached the Amelot sewer, and thence, provided that he did not go astray in the sort of F which lies under the Bastille, he might have attained the outlet on the Seine near the Arsenal. But in order to do this, he must have been thoroughly familiar with the enormous madrepore of the sewer in all its ramifications and in all its openings. Now, we must again insist that he knew nothing of that frightful drain which he was traversing; and had any one asked him in what he was, he would have answered: "In the night."



His instinct served him well. To descend was, in fact, possible safety.



He left on his right the two narrow passages which branch out in the form of a claw under the Rue Laffitte and the Rue Saint-Georges and the long, bifurcated corridor of the Chaussee d'Antin.



A little beyond an afflu ent, which was, probably, the Madeleine branch,he halted. He was extremely weary. A passably large air-hole, probably the man-hole in the Rue d'Anjou, furnished a light that was almost vivid. Jean Valjean, with the gentleness of movement which a brother would exercise towards his wounded brother, deposited Marius on the banquette of the sewer. Marius' blood-stained face appeared under the wan light of the air-hole like the ashes at the bottom of a tomb. His eyes were closed, his hair was plastered down on his temples like a painter's brushes dried in red wash; his hands hung limp and dead. A clot of blood had collected in the knot of his cravat; his limbs were cold, and blood was clotted at the corners of his mouth; his shirt had thrust itself into his wounds, the cloth of his coat was chafing the yawning gashes in the living flesh. Jean Valjean, pushing aside the garments with the tips of his fingers, laid his hand upon Marius' breast; his heart was still beating. Jean Valjean tore up his shirt, bandaged the young man's wounds as well as he was able and stopped the flowing blood; then bending over Marius, who still lay unconscious and almost without breathing, in that half light, he gazed at him with inexpressible hatred.



On disarranging Marius' garments, he had found two things in his pockets, the roll which had been forgotten there on the preceding evening, and Marius' pocketbook. He ate the roll and opened the pocketbook. On the first page he found the four lines written by Marius. The reader will recall them:



"My name is Marius Pontmercy. Carry my body to my grandfather, M. Gillenormand, Rue des Filles-du-Calvaire, No. 6, in the Marais."



Jean Valjean read these four lines by the light of the air-hole, and remained for a moment as though absorbed in thought, repeating in a low tone: "Rue des Filles-du-Calvaire, number 6, Monsieur Gillenormand." He replaced the pocketbook in Marius' pocket. He had eaten, his strength had returned to him; he took Marius up once more upon his back, placed the latter's head carefully on his right shoulder, and resumed his descent of the sewer.



The Grand Sewer, directed according to the course of the valley of Menilmontant, is about two leagues long. It is paved throughout a notable portion of its extent.



This torch of the names of the streets of Paris, with which we are illuminating for the reader Jean Valjean's subterranean march, Jean Valjean himself did not possess. Nothing told him what zone of the city he was traversing, nor what way he had made. Only the growing pallor of the pools of light which he encountered from time to time indicated to him that the sun was withdrawing from the pavement, and that the day would soon be over; and the rolling of vehicles overhead, having become intermittent instead of continuous, then having almost ceased, he concluded that he was no longer under central Paris, and that he was approaching some solitary region, in the vicinity of the outer boulevards, or the extreme outer quays. Where there are fewer houses and streets, the sewer has fewer air-holes. The gloom deepened around Jean Valjean. Nevertheless, he continued to advance, groping his way in the dark.



Suddenly this darkness became terrible.







四 他也背着他的十字架



冉阿让又继续走下去,不再停留。



走路已变得越来越困难了。圆拱顶的高度有变化,一般的高度是五尺六寸,这是按照一个人的高度设计的。冉阿让必须弯着腰,这样使马吕斯不致撞着拱顶;他得随时弯腰,接着又竖起身子来不停地摸着墙。潮湿的石头和粘滑的沟槽对手和脚都是不利的支撑点。他在城市的污秽中踉跄前进。间隔着的通风洞的光线相距很远,使大太阳暗淡如月光;此外就是迷雾、腐烂的气息、不透光、黑暗。冉阿让既渴又饥,尤其是渴,这里象在海上一样,到处是水,可是不能喝。他的体力本是异乎寻常的,这我们已经知道,而且很少因年岁而减弱,因为他的生活贞洁简朴,但此刻也开始垮下来了。他感到疲惫,慢慢减弱的体力使负担变重了。马吕斯,可能已经死去,就象不会动的身体那样重。冉阿让背着他,这样为使马吕斯的胸部不致受压,并且也使呼吸能够尽量通畅。他感到老鼠在他的两腿中间迅速地溜过。其中有一只吓得甚至来咬他。从阴沟盖那里不时吹来一阵新鲜空气,使他清醒了一会儿。



他到达总管时大概是下午三点钟。



开始他感到惊讶,阴渠忽然扩大了。



他突然到了一条伸手触不到两边的墙,而且头也碰不到顶的巷道中了。大阴渠确有八尺宽七尺高。



蒙马特尔的阴沟和大阴渠接头的地方,另有两条地下坑道,一条是普罗旺斯街的,另一条是屠宰场的,形成了一个十字路口。在这四条路中,不如他明智的人一定会犹豫不决。冉阿让选择了最宽大的,也就是总沟渠。但这样又有了问题:下坡,还是上坡?他考虑到形势紧急,因此不管何种危险他必须现在就到塞纳河去,换句话说,要下坡。于是他向左转。



他幸亏这样做。要是认为总管有两个出口,一到贝尔西,另一到巴喜,如认为就象名称所指的那样,这是巴黎地下河右边的总管,那就错了。这条大阴渠并非别条,我们该记得,就是过去的梅尼孟丹小河,如果往上走,就通到一条死胡同,也就是它原先的出发点,河的起源处,在梅尼孟丹街的小丘下。它和聚集巴黎水流的从波邦古区起经阿麦洛阴沟在过去的卢维耶岛输入塞纳河的支管没有任何管道直接相联。这条支管,作为总管的辅助管道,就在梅尼孟丹街下面被一块把水分成上游和下游的高地与总管分隔开。如果冉阿让走上坡的沟道,他将在千辛万苦之后、疲惫力竭气虚濒危之时,在黑暗中碰上一堵墙,这样他就完了。



必要时也可以退回几步,走进受难修女街的巷道,只要在布什拉街的地下鹅掌十字路口毫不犹豫地取道圣路易沟管,然后,向左,走圣吉尔街沟管,再向右避开圣塞巴斯蒂安阴沟,他就可能到达阿麦洛街沟,从这里,只要不在巴士底监狱下的"F"形沟道里迷路,就可来到靠近兵工厂的塞纳河出口。但是,要这样走,就必须彻底清楚这个巨大珊瑚形阴渠的所有分岔和直管。可是,我们要再说一遍,冉阿让对他所走的可怕的路线一无所知。如果有人问他在什么地方,他可能回答:"在黑暗里。"



他的本能起了良好的作用,下坡确有可能得救。



他放弃右边两个象爪子一样分岔的拉菲特街和圣乔治街下的沟管和有支管的昂坦大街下的巷道。



走过了一条支流,可能是马德兰教堂的支管,他止步休息。他很劳累。有一个出气洞相当大,大概是昂儒街的洞眼,射进了一道几乎闪亮的光。冉阿让用长兄对受伤弟弟那样轻柔的动作,把马吕斯放在阴沟里的长凳上。马吕斯鲜血模糊的脸在出气洞的白光中显出来就象从坟墓深处显出来一样。他双目紧闭,头发粘在太阳穴上,好象干了的红色画笔,双手垂着一动不动,四肢冰冷,唇角凝着血块。有块血块凝聚在领带结上;衬衫进到伤口里,衣服呢子磨擦着开着大口子的肉。冉阿让用手指把衣服扯开,把手放在他的胸上,心还在跳动。冉阿让撕下自己的衬衫,尽量把伤口包扎好,止住了血。于是,在朦胧的光线中他俯视着一直失去知觉、几乎没有呼吸的马吕斯,用无以名状的仇恨瞧着他。



在解开马吕斯的衣服时,他在口袋里发现两件东西,一块昨晚就忘在那里的面包和马吕斯的笔记本。他吃了面包,把笔记本打开。在第一页上,他发现马吕斯写的几行字。我们还记得是这样写的:



"我叫马吕斯·彭眉胥,请把我的尸体送到我外祖父吉诺曼先生家,地址是:沼泽区,受难修女街六号。"



借着出气洞的光,冉阿让念了这几行字,呆了一会儿,象在沉思,低声重复着:"受难修女街六号,吉诺曼先生。"他把笔记本放回马吕斯的口袋里,吃了面包后,他的体力已恢复,他又背起马吕斯,小心翼翼地把他的头放在自己的右肩上,开始在沟里往下坡走。



这个大阴渠是顺着梅尼孟丹山谷的最深谷底线修建的,大概有二法里长,路的大部分都铺了石块。



我们用巴黎的街名,象火炬一样,为读者照亮了冉阿让在巴黎地下的路线。但冉阿让却没有这个火炬。没有任何东西告诉他,他现在正穿过市中的哪一区或已走过什么街。只有逐渐暗淡下去的间隔着的微光告诉他太阳正离开路面,黄昏即将来临。在他头上车轮的不断滚动声已变得断断续续,接着又几乎象停止了。他得出的结论是他已不在巴黎市中心的下面并且已接近某个荒僻地区,如靠近郊外的马路或河岸的尽头。在房屋和街道较少的地方,阴沟的通风洞也少。冉阿让的四周越来越黑,他仍在暗中摸索前进。



突然这种黑暗变得非常可怕。
关键字:Les Miserables,悲惨世界Volume 5 Jean Valjean
生词表:
  • laborious [lə´bɔ:riəs] 移动到这儿单词发声 a.吃力的 六级词汇
  • stature [´stætʃə] 移动到这儿单词发声 n.身高;身材 四级词汇
  • incessantly [in´sesntli] 移动到这儿单词发声 ad.不断地,不停地 六级词汇
  • framework [´freimwə:k] 移动到这儿单词发声 n.骨架;计划;机构 六级词汇
  • blackness [´blæknis] 移动到这儿单词发声 n.黑色;阴险 四级词汇
  • prodigious [prə´didʒəs] 移动到这儿单词发声 a.惊人的;巨大的 四级词汇
  • chaste [tʃeist] 移动到这儿单词发声 a.贞洁的;高雅的 四级词汇
  • respiration [,respə´reiʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声 n.呼吸(作用) 六级词汇
  • midday [´middei] 移动到这儿单词发声 n.中午 四级词汇
  • outstretched [,aut´stretʃt] 移动到这儿单词发声 a.扩张的;伸长的 六级词汇
  • downstream [,daun´stri:m] 移动到这儿单词发声 a.&ad.下流的,顺流的 六级词汇
  • taking [´teikiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声 a.迷人的 n.捕获物 六级词汇
  • astray [ə´strei] 移动到这儿单词发声 ad.&a.在歧途上(的) 四级词汇
  • arsenal [´ɑ:sənəl] 移动到这儿单词发声 n.兵工厂;军械库 六级词汇
  • gentleness [´dʒentlnis] 移动到这儿单词发声 n.温和,温柔 四级词汇
  • cravat [krə´væt] 移动到这儿单词发声 n.领带;围巾 六级词汇
  • beating [´bi:tiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声 n.敲;搅打;失败 六级词汇
  • preceding [pri(:)´si:diŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声 a.在先的;前面的 四级词汇
  • pocketbook [´pɔkitbuk] 移动到这儿单词发声 n.袖珍本;皮夹子;财力 六级词汇
  • vicinity [vi´siniti] 移动到这儿单词发声 n.邻近,附近,接近 四级词汇


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