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The Lady of the Camellias

By Rachel Hamilton,2014-11-04 07:08
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The Lady of the Camellias ...

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     Chapter 1

     It is my considered view that no one can invent. 编造,捏造,虚构

    fictional characters without first having made a lengthy study of people, just as it is impossible for anyone to speak a language that has not been properly mastered.

     Since I am not yet of an age to invent, I must make do with telling a tale.

     I therefore因此, 为此, 所以invite the reader to believe that this

    story is true. All the characters who appear in it, with the exception of the heroine [ˈhɛroɪn], are still living.

     I would further add that there are reliable witnesses in Paris for most of the particulars which I bring together here, and they could vouch for their accuracy should my word not be enough. By a

    singular turn of events, I alone was able to write them down since I alone was privy to the very last details without which it would have been quite impossible to piece together a full and satisfying account.

     It was in this way that these particulars came to my knowledge.

     On the 12th day of March 1847, in the rue Laffitte, I happened upon a large yellow notice announcing a sale of furniture and valuable curios 1. 小件珍奇物品. An estate个人财产(,尤指!遗产was to be

    去掉,舍弃,处理; 处置of, the owner having died. The notice disposed

    did not name the dead person, but the sale was to be held at 9 rue d'Antin on the 16th, between noon and five o'clock.

     The notice also stated that the apartments and contents could be viewed on the 13th and 14th.

     I have always been interested in curios. I promised myself I would not miss this opportunity, if not of actually buying, then at least of looking.

     The following day, I directed my steps towards 9 rue d'Antin.

     It was early, and yet a good crowd of visitors had already gathered in the apartment men for the most part, but also a

    number of ladies who, though dressed in velvet and wearing Indian

    shawls, and all with their own elegant broughams standing at the

    door, were examining the riches set out before them with astonished,

    even admiring eyes.

     After a while, I quite saw the reason for their admiration and astonishment, for having begun myself to look around I had no difficulty in recognizing that I was in the apartment of a kept woman. Now if there is one thing that ladies of fashion desire to see above all else and there were society ladies present it is the rooms

    occupied by those women who have carriages which spatter their own with mud every day of the week, who have their boxes at the

    Opera or the Theatre-Italien just as they do, and indeed next to theirs, and who display for all Paris to see the insolent opulence of

    their beauty, diamonds and shameless conduct举止, 行为.

     The woman in whose apartments I now found myself was dead: the most virtuous of ladies were thus able to go everywhere, even into the bedroom. Death had purified the air of this glittering den of iniquity, and in any case they could always say, if they needed the excuse, that they had done no more than come to a sale without knowing whose rooms these were. I had read the notices, they had wanted to view what the notices advertised and mark out their

    selections in advance. It could not have been simpler though this

    did not prevent them from looking through these splendid things for

    traces of the secret life of a courtesan of which they had doubtless been given very strange accounts.

     Unfortunately, the mysteries had died with the goddess, and in spite of their best endeavours these good ladies found only what had

    been put up for sale since the time of death, and could detect

    nothing of what had been sold while the occupant had been alive.

     But there was certainly rich booty to be had. The furniture

    was superb. Rosewood and Buhl-work pieces, Severs vases and blue china porcelain, Dresden figurines1. 小雕像,小塑像, satins,缎子, velvet and

    lace, everything in fact.

     I wandered from room to room in the wake of these inquisitive

    贵族气派的ladies who had arrived before me. They went aristocratic

    into a bedroom hung with Persian fabrics 织物, and I was about to go

    in after them, when they came out again almost immediately, smiling and as it were put to shame by this latest revelation. The effect was to make me even keener to see inside. It was the

    dressing-room, complete down to the very last details, in which the dead woman's profligacy [ˈprɔfliɡəsi] 放荡,不检点,肆意挥霍had seemingly

    reached its height.

     On a large table standing against one wall it measured a good

    six feet by three shone the finest treasures of Aucoc and Odiot. It was a magnificent collection, and among the countless objects each so essential to the appearance of the kind of woman in whose home we had gathered, there was not one that was not made of gold or silver. But it was a collection that could only have been assembled piece by piece, and clearly more than one love had gone into its making.

     I, who was not the least put out by the sight of the dressing-room of a kept woman, spent some time agreeably inspecting its contents, neglecting none of them, and I noticed that all these magnificently

    好地(出色地wrought使发生了,造成了,尤指变化!implements bore different initials

    最初的(开始的and all manner of coronets宝冠,小冠冕.

     As I contemplated深思, 细想, 仔细考虑 all these things, each to my

    mind standing for a separate prostitution of the poor girl, I reflected that God had been merciful to her since He had not suffered

    经历,经受,变化、不快的事等!the usual her to live long enough to undergo

    punishment but had allowed her to die at the height of her wealth and beauty, long before the coming of old age, that first death of courtesans.

     Indeed, what sadder sight is there than vice不道德行为, 堕落in old

    age, especially in a woman? It has no dignity and is singularly unattractive. Those everlasting regrets, not for wrong turnings taken but for wrong calculations 1. 计算,计算(的结果)2. 推断;预测,估计3. 盘算,深思熟虑,

    慎重的计划made and money foolishly spent, are among the most harrowing 1. 耙地2. 折磨,使苦恼things that can be heard. I once knew a

    former woman of easy virtue of whose past life there remained only a daughter who was almost as beautiful as the mother had once been, or so her contemporaries同代人(同辈人(同龄人 said. This poor child, to

    whom her mother never said 'You are my daughter' except to order her to keep her now that she was old just as she had been kept when she was young, this wretched 1. 不幸的人;可怜的人2. 恶棍;坏蛋;无赖;无耻之徒

    creature was called Louise and, in obedience to her mother, she sold

    herself without inclination爱好, 癖好, 意向or passion or pleasure, rather

    as she might have followed an honest trade had it ever entered anyone's head to teach her one.

     1. 壮观的场面或景象2. 可笑的事物; 愚蠢的景象3. 眼镜4. 壮观 The continual spectacle

    of debauchery道德败坏,淫荡2. 放荡,淫逸, at so tender an age, compounded 1.

    协,和解(达成协议((通过妥协)解决债务、主权等by her continuing ill-health, had

    extinguished1. 使熄灭, 扑灭2. 使不复存在 in the girl the knowledge of good

    and evil which God had perhaps given her but which no one had ever thought to nurture教养, 培育.

     I shall always remember that young girl who walked along the boulevards大街, 林阴大道 almost every day at the same hour. Her

    mother was always with her, escorting 护送; 护卫her as assiduously勤勉

    ,恳切地as a true mother might have accompanied her daughter. I was very young in those days and ready enough to fall in with the easy morality 道德(道德准则(道义of the times. Yet I recall that the sight of such scandalous令人反感的;令人愤慨的chaperoning (在社交场所陪伴未婚少女的)

    监护人filled me with contempt1. 轻视, 轻蔑2. ,对规则、危险等的!藐视,不顾 and

    disgust.

     Add to all this that no virgin's face ever conveyed表达, 转达,传递

    such a feeling of innocence nor any comparable expression of sadness and suffering.

     You would have said it was the image of Resignation 顺从, 听从

    itself.

     And then one day, the young girl's face lit up. In the midst of the debauches 使堕落,败坏 which her mother organized for her, it

    准许; 答应suddenly seemed to this sinful creature that God had granted

    给予 her one happiness. And after all why should God, who had made her weak and helpless, abandon her without consolation 1. 安慰,

    2. 起安慰作用的人(或事物) to struggle on beneath the oppressive暴虐的,残酷的;

    公平的2. 郁闷的,难以忍受的burden of her life? One day, then, she perceived

    感知(感觉(察觉2. 认识到,意识到(that she was with child, and that part of her which remained pure trembled 发抖, 颤抖2. 焦虑, 担忧with joy. The soul

    finds refuge避难(, ), 庇护 in the strangest sanctuaries圣所 ,圣殿.

    Louise ran to her mother to tell her the news that had filled her with such happiness. It is a shameful thing to have to say but we do

    not write gratuitously不必要的, 未要求的of immorality here, we relate a

    true incident发生的事, 小插曲and one perhaps which we would be better

    advised to leave untold if we did not believe that it is essential from time to time to make public the martyrdom [ˈmɑrtədəm] 殉难; 殉道of these

    creatures who are ordinarily平常地,普普通通地2. 通常condemned(通常因道义上的

    原因而)谴责,指责 without a hearing and despised鄙视, 看不起某人(某事) without

    trial,尤指跟在他人后面!疲惫地走,没精打采地慢走 it is, we say, a matter for

    shame, but the mother answered her daughter saying that as things stood they scarcely仅仅; 几乎不had enough for two, and that they

    would certainly not have enough for three; that such children serve no useful purpose; and that a pregnancy is so much time wasted.

     The very next day, a midwife接生婆, 助产士(of whom we shall say no

    more than that she was a friend of the mother)called to see Louise, who remained for a few days in her bed from which she rose paler(pale) and weaker than before.

     Three months later, some man took pity on her and undertook

     (对人的灵魂的)拯救. But this latest blow her moral and physical salvation

    had been too great and Louise died of the after effects of the miscarriage 流产she had suffered.

     The mother still lives. How? God alone knows.

     This story had come back to me as I stood examining the sets of silver toilet accessories附件, 配件, 附属物, and I must have been lost in

    thought for quite some time. For by now the apartment was empty save for myself and a porter who, from the doorway门口;门道, was

    eyeing me carefully lest I should try to steal anything.

     I went up to this good man in whom I inspired such grave anxieties[æŋˈzaɪɪti]. 焦虑, 担心, 不安

     'Excuse me, ' I said, 'I wonder if you could tell me the name of the person who lived here?'

     'Mademoiselle Marguerite Gautier.'

     I knew this young woman by name and by sight.

     'What!' I said to the porter门童 ,门卫(门房. 'Marguerite Gautier is

    dead?'

     'Yes, sir.'

     'When did it happen?'

     'Three weeks ago, I think.'

     'But why are people being allowed to view her apartment?'

     'The creditors thought it would be good for trade. People can

    绞死;绞刑2. (墙上装饰用的)帘子,帷幔 and the get the effect of the hangings

    furniture in advance. Encourages people to buy, you understand.'

     'So she had debts, then?'

     'Oh yes, sir! Lots of'em.'

     'But I imagine the sale will cover them?'

     'Over and above.'

     'And who stands to get the balance?'

     'The family.'

     'She had a family?'

     'Seems she did.'

     'Thank you very much.'

     The porter, now reassured消除恐惧或疑虑 as to my intentions意图,

    touched his cap便帽; 帽子 and I left.

     'Poor girl, ' I said to myself as I returned home, 'she must have died a sad death, for in her world, people only keep their friends as long as they stay fit and well.' And in spite of myself, I lamented(…)

    哀悼, 痛哭, 悲伤 the fate of Marguerite Gautier.

     All this will perhaps seem absurd荒谬的,荒唐的,愚蠢的to many people,

    [fɔrˈbɛrəns] 忍耐,克制;宽容towards but I have a boundless forbearance

    courtesans which I shall not even trouble to enlarge upon here. One day, as I was on my way to collect a passport from the prefecture,

    地方官的任期,辖区I saw down one of the adjacent毗连的(邻近的streets, a

    young woman being taken away by two policemen. Now I have no idea what she had done. All I can say is that she was weeping bitterly and clasping抱紧(紧紧拥抱 to her a child only a few months old

    from which she was about to be separated by her arrest逮捕; 拘捕.

    From that day until this, I have been incapable无能力的of spurning一脚

    踢开;拒绝接受any woman on sight.

Chapter 2

     THE sale was due to be held on the 16th.

     An interval of one day had been left between the viewing and the sale in order to give the upholsterers enough time to take down the hangings, curtains and so forth.

     I was at that time recently returned from my travels. It was quite natural that no one had told me about Marguerite's death, for it was hardly one of those momentous news-items which friends always rush to tell anybody who has just got back to the capital city of News. Marguerite had been pretty, but the greater the commotion that attends the sensational lives of these women, the smaller the stir

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