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第七卷商马第案件 第11章商马第更加莫名其妙了

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CHAPTER XI CHAMPMATHIEU MORE AND MORE ASTONISHED



It was he, in fact. The clerk's lamp illumined his countenance. He held his hat in his hand; there was no disorder in his clothing; his coat was carefully buttoned; he was very pale, and he trembled slightly; his hair, which had still been gray on his arrival in Arras, was now entirely white: it had turned white during the hour he had sat there.

All heads were raised: the sensation was indescribable; there was a momentary hesitation in the audience, the voice had been so heart-rending; the man who stood there appeared so calm that they did not understand at first. They asked themselves whether he had indeed uttered that cry; they could not believe that that tranquil man had been the one to give that terrible outcry.

This indecision only lasted a few seconds. Even before the President and the district-attorney could utter a word, before the ushers and the gendarmes could make a gesture, the man whom all still called, at that moment, M. Madeleine, had advanced towards the witnesses Cochepaille, Brevet, and Chenildieu.

"Do you not recognize me?" said he.

All three remained speechless, and indicated by a sign of the head that they did not know him. Cochepaille, who was intimidated, made a military salute. M. Madeleine turned towards the jury and the court, and said in a gentle voice:--

"Gentlemen of the jury, order the prisoner to be released! Mr. President, have me arrested. He is not the man whom you are in search of; it is I: I am Jean Valjean."

Not a mouth breathed; the first commotion of astonishment had been followed by a silence like that of the grave; those within the hall experienced that sort of religious terror which seizes the masses when something grand has been done.

In the meantime, the face of the President was stamped with sympathy and sadness; he had exchanged a rapid sign with the district-attorney and a few low-toned words with the assistant judges; he addressed the public, and asked in accents which all understood:--

"Is there a physician present?"

The district-attorney took the word:--

"Gentlemen of the jury, the very strange and unexpected incident which disturbs the audience inspires us, like yourselves, only with a sentiment which it is unnecessary for us to express. You all know, by reputation at least, the honorable M. Madeleine, mayor of M. sur M.; if there is a physician in the audience, we join the President in requesting him to attend to M. Madeleine, and to conduct him to his home."

M.Madeleine did not allow the district-attorney to finish; he interrupted him in accents full of suavity and authority. These are the words which he uttered; here they are literally, as they were written down, immediately after the trial by one of the witnesses to this scene, and as they now ring in the ears of those who heard them nearly forty years ago:--

"I thank you, Mr. District-Attorney, but I am not mad; you shall see; you were on the point of committing a great error; release this man! I am fulfilling a duty; I am that miserable criminal. I am the only one here who sees the matter clearly, and I am telling you the truth. God, who is on high, looks down on what I am doing at this moment, and that suffices. You can take me, for here I am: but I have done my best; I concealed myself under another name; I have become rich; I have become a mayor; I have tried to re-enter the ranks of the honest. It seems that that is not to be done. In short, there are many things which I cannot tell. I will not narrate the story of my life to you; you will hear it one of these days. I robbed Monseigneur the Bishop, it is true; it is true that I robbed Little Gervais; they were right in telling you that Jean Valjean was a very vicious wretch. Perhaps it was not altogether his fault. Listen, honorable judges! a man who has been so greatly humbled as I have has neither any remonstrances to make to Providence, nor any advice to give to society; but, you see, the infamy from which I have tried to escape is an injurious thing; the galleys make the convict what he is; reflect upon that, if you please. Before going to the galleys, I was a poor peasant, with very little intelligence, a sort of idiot; the galleys wrought a change in me. I was stupid; I became vicious: I was a block of wood; I became a firebrand. Later on, indulgence and kindness saved me, as severity had ruined me. But, pardon me, you cannot understand what I am saying. You will find at my house, among the ashes in the fireplace, the forty-sou piece which I stole, seven years ago, from little Gervais. I have nothing farther to add; take me. Good God! the district-attorney shakes his head; you say, 'M. Madeleine has gone mad!' you do not believe me! that is distressing. Do not, at least, condemn this man! What! these men do not recognize me! I wish Javert were here; he would recognize me."

Nothing can reproduce the sombre and kindly melancholy of tone which accompanied these words.

He turned to the three convicts, and said:--

"Well, I recognize you; do you remember, Brevet?"

He paused, hesitated for an instant, and said:--

"Do you remember the knitted suspenders with a checked pattern which you wore in the galleys?"

Brevet gave a start of surprise, and surveyed him from head to foot with a frightened air. He continued:--

"Chenildieu, you who conferred on yourself the name of `Jenie-Dieu,' your whole right shoulder bears a deep burn, because you one day laid your shoulder against the chafing-dish full of coals, in order to efface the three letters T. F. P., which are still visible, nevertheless; answer, is this true?"

"It is true," said Chenildieu.

He addressed himself to Cochepaille:--

"Cochepaille, you have, near the bend in your left arm, a date stamped in blue letters with burnt powder; the date is that of the landing of the Emperor at Cannes, March 1, 1815; pull up your sleeve!"

Cochepaille pushed up his sleeve; all eyes were focused on him and on his bare arm.

A gendarme held a light close to it; there was the date.

The unhappy man turned to the spectators and the judges with a smile which still rends the hearts of all who saw it whenever they think of it. It was a smile of triumph; it was also a smile of despair.

"You see plainly," he said, "that I am Jean Valjean."

In that chamber there were no longer either judges, accusers, nor gendarmes; there was nothing but staring eyes and sympathizing hearts. No one recalled any longer the part that each might be called upon to play; the district-attorney forgot he was there for the purpose of prosecuting, the President that he was there to preside, the counsel for the defence that he was there to defend. It was a striking circumstance that no question was put, that no authority intervened. The peculiarity of sublime spectacles is, that they capture all souls and turn witnesses into spectators. No one, probably, could have explained what he felt; no one, probably, said to himself that he was witnessing the splendid outburst of a grand light: all felt themselves inwardly dazzled.

It was evident that they had Jean Valjean before their eyes. That was clear. The appearance of this man had sufficed to suffuse with light that matter which had been so obscure but a moment previously, without any further explanation: the whole crowd, as by a sort of electric revelation, understood instantly and at a single glance the simple and magnificent history of a man who was delivering himself up so that another man might not be condemned in his stead. The details, the hesitations, little possible oppositions, were swallowed up in that vast and luminous fact.

It was an impression which vanished speedily, but which was irresistible at the moment.

"I do not wish to disturb the court further," resumed Jean Valjean. "I shall withdraw, since you do not arrest me. I have many things to do. The district-attorney knows who I am; he knows whither I am going; he can have me arrested when he likes."

He directed his steps towards the door. Not a voice was raised, not an arm extended to hinder him. All stood aside. At that moment there was about him that divine something which causes multitudes to stand aside and make way for a man. He traversed the crowd slowly. It was never known who opened the door, but it is certain that he found the door open when he reached it. On arriving there he turned round and said:--

"I am at your command, Mr. District-Attorney."

Then he addressed the audience:--

"All of you, all who are present--consider me worthy of pity, do you not? Good God! When I think of what I was on the point of doing, I consider that I am to be envied. Nevertheless, I should have preferred not to have had this occur."

He withdrew, and the door closed behind him as it had opened, for those who do certain sovereign things are always sure of being served by some one in the crowd.

Less than an hour after this, the verdict of the jury freed the said Champmathieu from all accusations; and Champmathieu, being at once released, went off in a state of stupefaction, thinking that all men were fools, and comprehending nothing of this vision.




十一 商马第更加莫名其妙了




的确就是他。记录员的灯光正照着他的脸。他手里拿着帽子,他的服装没有一点不整齐的地方,他的礼服是扣得规规矩矩的。他的脸,异常惨白,身体微微发抖。他的头发在刚到阿拉斯时还是斑白的,现在全白了。他在这儿过了一个钟头,头发全变白了。

大家的头全竖起来。那种紧张心情是无可形容的,听众一时全愣住了。这个人的声音那样凄戾,而他自己却又那样镇静,以致起初,大家都不知道是怎样一回事。大家心里都在问是谁喊了这么一声。大家都不能想象发出这种骇人的叫声的便是这个神色泰然自若的人。

这种惊疑只延续了几秒钟。庭长和检察官还不曾来得及说一句话,法警和执达吏也还不曾来得及做一个动作,这个人,大家在这时还称为马德兰先生的这个人,已走到证人布莱卫、戈什巴依和舍尼杰的面前了。

“你们不认识我吗?”他说。

他们三个人都不知所措,摇着头,表示一点也不认识他。

马德兰先生转身向着那些陪审员和法庭人员,委婉地说:“诸位陪审员先生,请释放被告。庭长先生,请拘禁我。你们要逮捕的人不是他,是我。我是冉阿让。”

大家都屏息无声。最初的惊动过后,继以坟墓般的寂静。当时在场的人都被一种带宗教意味的敬畏心情所慑服了,这种心情,每逢非常人作出非常举动时是会发生的。

这时,庭长的脸上显出了同情和愁苦的神气。他和检察官丢了个眼色,又和那些陪审顾问低声说了几句话。他向着听众,用一种大家都了解的口吻问道:

“这里有医生吗?”

检察官发言:

“诸位陪审员先生,这种意外、突兀、惊扰大众的事,使我产生一种不必说明的感想,诸位想必也有同感。诸位全都认识这位可敬的滨海蒙特勒伊市长,马德兰先生,至少也听说过他的大名。假使听众中有位医生,我们同意庭长先生的建议,请他出来照顾马德兰先生,并且伴送他回去。”

马德兰先生丝毫不让检察官说完。他用一种十分温良而又十分刚强的口吻打断了他的话。下面便是他的发言,这是当日在场的一个旁听者在退堂后立刻记下来的,一字一句都不曾改动;听到这些话的人,至今快四十年了,现在还觉得余音在耳呢。

“我谢谢您,检察官先生,我神经并没有错乱。您会知道的。您几乎要犯极大的错误。快快释放这个人吧,我尽我的本分,我是这个不幸的罪人。我在这里是唯一了解真实情况的人,我说的也是真话。我现在做的事,这上面的上帝看得很清楚,这样也就够了。您可以逮捕我,我既然已经到了这里。我曾经努力为善,我隐藏在一个名字的后面,我发了财,我做到了市长;我原想回到善良的人的队伍里。看来是行不通了。总而言之,有许多事我现在还不能说,我并不想把我一生的事全告诉你们,有一天大家总会知道的。我偷过那位主教先生的东西,这是真的;我抢过小瑞尔威,这也是真的。别人告诉您说冉阿让是个非常凶的坏人,这话说得有理。过错也许不完全是他一个人的。请听我说,各位审判官先生,象我这样一个贱人,原不应当对上帝有所指责,也不应当对社会作何忠告。但是,请你们注意,我从前想洗雪的那种羞辱,确是一种有害的东西。牢狱制造囚犯。假使你们愿意,请你们在这上面多多思考。在入狱以前,我是乡下一个很不聪明的穷人,一个很笨的人,牢狱改变了我。我从前笨,后来凶;我从前是块木头,后来成了引火的干柴。再到后来,宽容和仁爱救了我,正如从前严酷断送了我一样。但是请原谅,你们是听不懂我说的这些话的。在我家里壁炉的灰里,你们可以找到一个值四十个苏的银币,那是七年前我抢了小瑞尔威的。我再没有什么旁的话要说。押起我来吧。我的上帝!检察官先生,您摇着头说:‘马德兰先生疯了。’您不相信我!这真苦了我。无论如何,您总不至于判这个人的罪吧!什么!这些人全不认我!沙威可惜不在这里,他会认出我来的,他。”

没有什么话可以把他那种悲切仁厚的酸楚口吻表达出来。

他转过去对着那三个囚犯:

“好吧,我认识你们,我!布莱卫!您记得吗?……”

他停下来,迟疑了一会,又说道:

“你还记得你从前在狱里用的那条编织的方格子花背带吗?”

布莱卫骇然大吃一惊,把他从头一直打量到脚。他继续说:“舍尼杰,你替你自己起了个诨名叫日尼杰。你的右肩上全是很深的火伤疤,因为有一天你把你的肩膀靠在一大盆红炭上,想消灭TFP三个字母,但是没有烧去。回答,是不是有过这回事?”

“有过。”舍尼杰说。

他又向戈什巴依说:

“戈什巴依,在你左肘弯的旁边有个日期,字是蓝的,是用烧粉刺成的。这日期便是皇上从戛纳登陆的日子,一八一五年三月一日。把你的袖子卷上去。”

戈什巴依卷起他的衣袖,他前后左右的人都伸长了颈子盯在他的光胳膊上。有一个法警拿了一盏灯来,那上面确有这个日期。

这不幸的人转过来朝着听众,又转过去朝着审判官,他那笑容叫当日在场目击的人至今回想起来还会觉得难受。那是胜利时刻的笑容,也是绝望时刻的笑容。

“你们现在明白了,”他说,“我就是冉阿让。”

在这圆厅里,已经无所谓审判官,无所谓原告,无所谓法警,只有发呆的眼睛和悲痛的心。大家都想不起自己要做的事,检察官已忘了他原在那里检举控诉,庭长也忘了自己原在那里主持审判,被告辩护人也忘了自己原在那里辩护。感人最深的是没有任何人提出任何问题,也没有任何人执行任务。最卓绝的景象能摄取所有的人的心灵,使全体证人变为观众。这时,也许没有一个人能确切了解自己的感受,当然也没有一个人想到他当时看到的是一种强烈的光辉的照耀,可是大家都感到自己的心腑已被照亮了。

立在众人眼前的是冉阿让,这已很显明了。这简直是光的辐射。这个人的出现已足使方才还那样迷离的案情大白。以后也用不着任何说明,这群人全都好象受到闪电般迅速的启示,并且立即懂得,也一眼看清楚了这个舍身昭雪冤情的人的简单壮丽的历史。他曾经历过的种种小事、种种迟疑、可能有过的小小抗拒心情,全在这种光明磊落的浩气中消逝了。

这种印象固然一下就过去了,但是在那一刹那间是锐不可当的。

“我不愿意再扰乱公堂,”冉阿让接着说,“你们既然不逮捕我,我就走了。我还有好几件事要办。检察官先生知道我是谁,他知道我要去什么地方,他随时都可以派人逮捕我。”

他向着出口走去。谁也没有开口,谁也没有伸出胳膊来阻拦他。大家都向两旁分立。他在当时有一种说不出的神威,使群众往后退,并且排着队让他过去,他缓缓地一步一步穿过人群。永远没有人知道谁推开了门,但是他走到门前,门确是开了。他到了门边,回转身来说:

“检察官先生,我静候您的处理。”

随后他又向听众说:

“你们在这里的每个人,你们觉得我可怜,不是吗?我的上帝!当我想到我刚才正是在做这件事时,我觉得自己是值得羡慕的。但是我更希望最好是这些事都不曾发生过。”

他出去了,门又自动关上,如同刚才它自动开开一样,作风正大的人总可以在群众中找到为他服务的人。

不到一个钟头,陪审团的决议撤消了对商马第的全部控告,立即被释放的商马第惊奇到莫名其妙地走了,以为在场的人全是疯子,他一点也不了解他所见到的是怎么一回事。
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