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完美的妻子

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经过了三十年的幸福婚姻,他仍能时常提醒自己,维多利亚除了缺乏那么一点点令人心动的人性脆弱以外,拥有一切美妙的品质。尽管她的完美减少了乐趣,尤其是爱情的乐趣,经过长时间的生活,作为一个丈夫,他渐渐为她天性中的保守感到骄傲。虽然陈腐的道德已经没落,他却仍然坚守遭到怀疑的骑士风范。他年轻的时候,漫长的维多利亚时代的余晖仍未散去;如果说优雅的女性化风尚没有软化男人们的本性,那它也软化了他们的举止。在这个有趣的年代行将结束的时候,人们对女性的赞美已不再停留在对女人的自然属性的赞美上,而是近乎把女人作为神明来膜拜。在这个时候,弗吉尼亚斯·里托尔培奇,一个古老富有家庭中的小儿子,和维多利亚·布鲁克结婚了。维多利亚是一个大烟草种植园主的孙女,这个种植园主因不再种植烟草而是把烟草做成卷烟而发了财。尽管严格的传统教育使弗吉尼亚斯尊重所有不甘堕落至做蠢事的女性,女性独有的美德并不是他爱慕维多利亚的原因。她不仅谦虚——这个品质在九十年代很普遍,她还非常美丽,这在任何年代都是不常见的。
After thirty years of married happiness, he could still remind himself that Victoria was endowed with every charm except the thrilling touch of human frailty. Though her perfection discouraged pleasures, especially the pleasures of love, he had learned in time to feel the pride of a husband in her natural frigidity. For he still clung, amid the decay of moral platitudes, to the discredited ideal of chivalry. In his youth the world was suffused with the after-glow of the long Victorian age, and a graceful feminine style had softened the manners, if not the natures, of men. At the end of that interesting epoch, when womanhood was exalted from a biological factsintosa miraculous power, Virginius Littlepage, the younger son of an old and affluent family, had married Victoria Brooke, the grand-daughter of a tobacco planter, who had made a satisfactory fortune by forsaking his plantation and converting tobaccos into cigarettes. While Virginius had been trained by stern tradition to respect every woman who had not stooped to folly, the virtue peculiar to her sex was among the least of his reasons for admiring Victoria. She was not only modest, which was usual in the nineties, but she was beautiful, which is unusual in any decade.
在他们相识之初,他甚至还认为她才华出众。但是几个月的婚姻生活证明了这不过是完美的外表和高贵的言辞带来的众多错觉之一。她的一切都是那么安详平淡,那么不事张扬,甚至包括她说话的声调和她选择的发式;她梳的是高卷式发型,淡褐色的头发从前额向后紧紧地卷过去用一根光亮的头绳盘绕在头顶上。那是一个凡事都严肃认真的年代,甚至恋人的情感和头脑都是有条理的。
In the beginning of their acquaintance he had gone even further and ascribed intellect to her; but a few months of marriage had shown this to be merely one of the many delusions created by perfect features and noble expression. Everything about her had been smooth and definite, even the tones of her voice and the way her light brown hair, which she wore a la Pompadour*, was rolled stiffly back from her forehead and coiled in a burnished rope on the top of her head
弗吉尼亚斯就是这样一个严肃的年轻人,他梦想有朝一日能在世上赢得辉煌的地位,远胜于他名声不旺的祖先。他们第一次见面的时候,他就发现维多利亚不仅思想有条理,而且思维缜密精确,因而留下了深刻的印象。在那个年代,满怀激情的年轻男子星期天早晨都涌向教堂;每星期三牧师们绘声绘色地讲述维多利亚诗人的诗歌。现在他回想起在那讨论诗人布朗宁的严肃课堂上,自己竟然春心萌动,不禁哑然失笑。他那时是多么醉心于维多利亚清纯的容颜,而看到她对布朗宁的诗心领神会,爱不释手时,他又是多么妒忌!
A serious young man, ambitious to attain a place in the world more brilliant than the secluded seat of his ancestors, he had been impressed at their first meeting by the compactness and precision of Victoria's orderly mind. For in that earnest period the minds, as well as the emotions, of lovers were orderly. It was an age when eager young men flocked to church on Sunday morning, and eloquent divines discoursed upon the Victorian poets in the middle of the week. He could afford to smile now when he recalled the solemn Browning class in which he had first lost his heart. How passionately he had admired Victoria's virginal features! How fervently he had envied her competent but caressing way with the poet!
现在看起来真是难以置信,他居然是在她背诵《戒指和书》中非常沉闷的段落时爱上她的。尽管他从来没有真正喜欢过布朗宁的诗,他还是在那时爱上了她。当这个杰出的诗人与他的诗“幽冥”终于不再时兴的时候,他感到如释重负般的轻松。可是,对维多利亚继续以其它形式信奉绝对真理所表现出的坚定精神,他向来无比钦佩,因为他总是钦佩他所没有的所有品质。
Incredible as it seemed to him now, he had fallen in love with her while she recited from the more ponderous passages in The Ring and the Book. He had fallen in love with her then, though he had never really enjoyed Browning, and it had been a relief to him when the Unseen, in company with its illustrious poet, had at last gone out of fashion. Yet, since he was disposed to admire all the qualities he did not possess, he had never ceased to respect the firmness with which Victoria continued to deal in other forms with the Absolute.
随着平静岁月的流逝,维多利亚美丽的容颜开始渐褪;他似乎觉得她年轻时的成熟思想也开始变得不再锋芒毕露,就像果实在树上挂得过久。他意识到自从他第一次见到她,她从来没有改变过;她只是变得更加成熟、温婉和甜美。
As the placid years passed, and she came to rely less upon her virginal features, it seemed to him that the ripe opinions of her youth began to shrink and flatten as fruit does that has hung too long on the tree. She had never changed, he realized, since he had first known her; she had become merely riper, softer, and sweeter in nature.
她优于别人的地方在于她的精神热诚,这种优势牢不可破。作为妻子,她惟一的缺点就是能在任何时候都不做错事。臆想对妻子有不忠行为的丈夫总会有种淡淡的不安,正是带着这种不安他叹息道,他的妻子是一个真正的好女人。她没有一点虚饰,也没有一点在这个容易轻信的世界上所流行的那种伪善。但遗憾的是,即使是最不挑剔的丈夫也时常会渴望一点更为活泼有趣的东西,而不仅仅是善良
Her advantage rested where advantage never fails to rest, in moral fervour. To be invariably right was her single wifely failing. For his wife, he sighed, with the vague unrest of a husband whose infidelities are imaginary, was a genuinely good woman. She was as far removed from pretence as she was from the posturing virtues that flourish in the credulous world of the drama. The pity of it was that even the least exacting husband should so often desire something more piquant than goodness.
标签:妻子
79
2010-11-15 16:27 编辑:kuaileyingyu
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